Tag Archives | Elizabeth Warren

Responding to Orin on Warren

Orin quotes Leiter as follows, in suggesting that Elizabeth Warren would not have listed herself as a Native American to benefit from affirmative action: “For affirmative action purposes, all law schools care about are African-Americans and Latinos.” But he also quotes Leiter as follows: “[B]ecause the AALS aggressively polices the racial and ethnic diversity of law faculties [editor’s note: as does the ABA, which is of course in charge of accreditation], law schools are careful to make sure anyone who could count as an under-represented minority is so-listed.”

So if law schools are worried about not having “enough” underrepresented minority faculty to satisfy the AALS (and the ABA), and if Native Americans count as underrepresented minority faculty (they do), surely it gives a law professor a potential advantage to promote oneself as a Native American.

This is not to say that Warren’s hiring at Harvard had anything to do with her dubious claim of minority status. But that’s a red herring. The issue isn’t whether Harvard or anyone else would or would not have hired Warren otherwise. The issue is whether Warren claimed dubious minority status because she thought that on the margins it might benefit her. [The issue, in short, is Warren’s integrity, not whether she “deserves” to be at Harvard based on her academic achievements. In fact, Warren has had an extremely impressive academic career, especially given that she started with the serious disadvantage of not in any way taking the traditional ‘elite law school to elite clerkship to elite law firm’ route that almost every professor at an elite law school has taken.]

Perhaps not. But all she has to do to clear things up is to answer the following question: “why did you list yourself as a minority professor when you were a professor at [...]

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Elizabeth Warren Herself Claimed “Minority” Status

A controversy has broken out in Massachusetts over the fact that Harvard Law School has claimed professor and current senatorial candidate Elizabeth as a minority member of the faculty based on apparent (but as yet unconfirmed) Native American ancestry. The Brown camp seems to think this is big news [update: the campaign has called on her to apologize for allowing Harvard to claim her as a “minority”; this, as we’ll see, doesn’t make any sense, because at the time Warren was claiming herself as a minority, and Harvard was only following her lead], Warren responds that she’s unaware that Harvard claimed her as a minority professor, but that she’s proud of her Indian ancestry. Her colleague Charles Fried, who was chair of the appointments committee when she was hired, claims that Warren’s Native American ancestry never came up in the hiring process, and that he only became aware of it later.

My contribution to this controversy is that there seems to be some disingenuousness going on. Warren says that she could not “recall” ever listing her Native American background when applying for college or a job.

The old AALS Directory of Faculty guides are online (through academic libraries) at Hein Online. The directories starting listing minority faculty in an appendix in 1986. There’s Elizabeth Warren, listed as a professor at Texas. I spot-checked three additional directories from when she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, including 1995-96, the year Harvard offered her a position. Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren.

So, we know one thing with almost 100% certainty: Elizabeth Warren identified herself as a minority law professor. We know something else with 90%+ certainty: (at least some) folks at Harvard were almost certainly aware that she identified as a minority law professor, though they may not [...]

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