The best argument she’s got in her defense is that, based on the public evidence so far, she doesn’t appear to have used her claim of Native American ancestry to gain access to anything much more significant than a cookbook; in 1984 she contributed five recipes to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook published by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, signing the items, “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee.”
Warren, who graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 and got her law degree from Rutgers University in 1976, did not seek to take advantage of affirmative action policies during her education, according documents obtained by the Associated Press and The Boston Globe. On the application to Rutgers Law School she was asked, “Are you interested in applying for admission under the Program for Minority Group Students?” “No,” she replied.
While a teacher at the University of Texas, she listed herself as “white.” But between 1986 and 1995, she listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Faculty; the University of Pennsylvania in a 2005 “minority equity report” also listed her as one of the minority professors who had taught at its law school.
The head of the committee that brought Warren to Harvard Law School said talk of Native American ties was not a factor in recruiting her to the prestigious institution. Reported the Boston Herald in April in its first story on Warren’s ancestry claim: “Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, a former U.S. Solicitor General who served under Ronald Reagan, sat on the appointing committee that recommended Warren for hire in 1995. He said he didn’t recall her Native American heritage ever coming up during the hiring process.
“‘It simply played no role in the appointments process. It was not mentioned and I didn’t mention it to the faculty,’ he said.”
He repeated himself this week, telling the Herald: “In spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary, the story continues to circulate that Elizabeth Warren enjoyed some kind of affirmative action leg-up in her hiring as a full professor by the Harvard Law School. The innuendo is false.”
“I can state categorically that the subject of her Native American ancestry never once was mentioned,” he added.
That view was echoed by Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe, who voted to tenure Warren and was also involved in recruiting her.
“Elizabeth Warren’s heritage had absolutely no role in the decision to recruit her to Harvard Law School,” he told the Crimson. “Our decision was entirely based on her extraordinary expertise and legendary teaching ability. This whole dispute is fabricated out of whole cloth and has no connection to reality.”"