As we all know, Elizabeth Warren has been dogged seemingly forever — even though it’s actually been six years — by the GOP-fueled charge that she fraudulently claimed Native American ethnicity in order to gain a professorship at Harvard Law School.
I say dogged because the charge has been passed along from one political opponent of hers to the next, starting with Scott Brown and working its way up to Donald Trump. Those illustrious purveyors of pure and unvarnished truth had seemingly ensured that the charge would become a major distraction to her future political career.
And one of the things that has made their allegation so insidious is that there is a kernel of truth to it in that Warren did list herself as Native American without any solid evidence to back that claim up in the Association of American Law Schools annual directory in 1986.
But did Warren try to use that Native American claim to get the professorship at Harvard or any other educational institution, as her detractors have repeatedly claimed? She has always insisted she didn’t; but without an exhaustive review of the available evidence, it is impossible to prove a negative. And it seems that no one had undertaken that exhaustive review until now.
It certainly appears the Globe has now finally done that review, and the newspapers’s conclusion is that Warren did not try to use ethnicity to get ahead in the teaching profession. The Globe states that its review was based on hundreds of documents, many of them never before made available, as well as interviews with more than 30 members of the Harvard Law faculty who had anything to do with recruiting and appointing Warren to her professorship there.
Of 31 faculty members interviewed, “all but one said they were unaware of her claims to Native American heritage and all but one of the 31 said those claims were not discussed as part of her hire.” It turns out that 31st faculty member later said in an email to the paper that he was unsure whether the issue of her claim to be a Native American came up in the hiring discussions.
Certainly, there will always be some degree of uncertainty about this matter, and I doubt the Globe’s investigation will stop or even slow the Pocahontas epithets from Trump and his friends. But having read the piece, I think it has finally shifted the burden of proof to Warren’s opponents. Unless they are able to come up with something definitive to counter the Globe’s evidence, I think Warren has to be finally considered acquitted of the charge.