After Harvard hired the aspiring law professor, they noted that she was the first-ever minority woman due to her 1/32nd Cherokee lineage. The claim, not something she has ever touted publicly before, surfaced last week and has been dogging her campaign ever since.
That “box checking,” as critics call it, likely played a role in her Harvard hiring especially when her background is compared to those of the other near-100 Harvard Law School professors and assistant professors, according to an analysis of law schools the professors attended. Most graduated from Harvard, and all from the nation’s top 10. Warren graduated from Rutgers University in Newark, ranked 82nd by Top-Law-Schools.com.
What’s more, only Rutgers has current law school professors who graduated from Rutgers. And in the analysis of the law school degrees of the roughly 350 Ivy League law school professors provided by a Warren critic, only one graduated from a lower-ranked law school than Warren, a Yale professor who attended the University of Nebraska Law School, ranked 89.
While it is largely viewed as admirable that universities consider diversity in their staffs and new students, Warren’s minority status has come under attack by minority groups who consider it cheating. A group of minority legal institutions, for example, just last year passed a resolution decrying “box checking” by people who claim to be Native-American but who have no legal status or membership in tribes.
Her claim has since been erased from legal directories, though she told the Boston Herald that she is proud of her roots dating back to a great-great-great grandmother.
The issue, mocked in some media, could hurt her chances in Massachusetts where she is in a dead heat with Republican Sen. Scott Brown, especially among blue collar independents who frown on career cheating.