Elizabeth Warren Admits She Claimed Minority Status . . . Then Faces Criticism Over Claim That She Was The First Nursing Mother To Take Bar

This morning three different law professors sent me this video of U.S. Senate Candidate and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren claiming to be the first nursing mother to ever take the bar exam. One of the professors, who is a liberal academic, noted that she knows that claim to be untrue from personal experience. However, as noted by Winnie Comfort of the New Jersey Judiciary (which administers state’s bar exam), the bar does not track nursing habits and women have been taking the New Jersey bar exam since 1895. This was not a claim to be a nursing Cherokee mother, but the question remains why Warren is making such controversial boasts when she has a great financial expertise record to run on. Worse still, Warren today admitted that she did in fact claim minority status at Penn and Harvard — after insisting that she was unaware of the claims.

Obviously, the running of a law professor has made the Warren race a focus of law professors around the country. With these issues becoming part of the campaign, that fascination has grown to unprecedented levels. Warren has enjoyed overwhelming support in the academy from what I have seen. That support remains strong, though law professors are still chattering about these controversies.

These distractions however cannot be simply blamed on conservative publications, which are running the stories. Warren does not need such claims to distinguish herself. It could not come at a worse time when she has been unable to support her claim to be Cherokee In one of the most bizarre twists on the story, there are now accounts that great-great-great grandfather may have been a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees and pushed them into the horrific Trail of Tears. Of course, even if true, that would not alter the fact that his wife was a Cherokee. However, the Boston Globe has confirmed that there is no documentation to support the claim.

With today’s admission that she did in fact repeatedly claim minority status at both law schools, I am again left perplexed why she would take so long to admit her claim. As I noted earlier, I could not imagine any way that such a claim, let alone repeated claims, unless it was made by the law professor.

On the merits, there is significant doubt about the claim. Warren’s bio lists her as becoming pregnant in 1976 before graduating from law school. By that point, the chances that she was the first woman to be a nursing mother during the bar seems doubtful, but more importantly it is not clear how she would know.

Once again, this is not an issue of importance, but it is one that Warren raised. While the claim of being a minority does have significant aspects for law schools and academics, nursing is not a matter that seems particularly relevant. However, what is fascinating is that I would have been impressed with Warren noting that she nursed during the bar exam – reflecting the challenges of female lawyers. No need to be first. I was trying not to hyperventilate at the time. I would be impressed even if she was the latest in a long line of nursing mothers during bar exams.

Nevertheless, she still looks good in comparison to 13 Senatorial candidates who are now accused of having backgrounds that include criminal convictions or tax violations.

I wonder if any of our attorneys have accounts to share of challenges that they faced during the bar examination.  I know of one professor who was caught in a broken elevator in a hotel during his break from the bar.  I know of another lawyer who was under cancer treatment and had to leave to throw up from the medication (he passed).

164 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren Admits She Claimed Minority Status . . . Then Faces Criticism Over Claim That She Was The First Nursing Mother To Take Bar

  1. Elizabeth Warren is telling the truth. I really did get into at a bar in South San Francisco. Me and a Sioux Indian from South Dakota.

  2. Who Cares About Elizabeth Warren’s Heritage Controversy? No One.
    JAMELLE BOUIE JUNE 1, 2012
    Voters in Massachusetts correctly understand that this controversy is meaningless.
    http://prospect.org/article/who-cares-about-elizabeth-warrens-heritage-controversy-no-one

    For the last month, Elizabeth Warren has been stuck in controversy over her Native American heritage, specifically the fact that she received benefits for it while at Harvard. Republican Scott Brown has made this a major campaign issue, using it to assail Warren’s integrity and ability to honestly serve the people of Massachusetts. At The Washington Post, David Fahrenthold and Chris Cillizza adopt this frame, and present the controversy as a real problem for Warren’s Senate bid:

    The episode could have been a minor nuisance for the campaign. In a race in which the economy, jobs and debt are the overriding issues, it’s unlikely that whether Warren is Native American would matter all that much to voters.

    But Warren has turned what could have been a small problem into a major story line by not coming out with everything she knew about the episode from the start.

    There’s a big problem with this. A huge problem, in fact.

    According to all available polling, voters simply don’t care about this controversy. At all. 72 percent of likely voters are aware of the flap over Warren’s heritage, and 69 percent of those say that it isn’t a significant story. That is, it won’t have any affect on their choice in November. For further proof, look no further than the most recent polling out of the Bay State; Brown and Warren are basically tied, and have been for the past month.

    Voters correctly understand that none of this significance; I’d love to see a similar sense of perspective from political reporters.

  3. mespo,

    “Well Matt, in 1963 Tomoya Kawakita, was deported to Japan by President Kennedy following a conviction for treason in 1948. TOMOYA KAWAKITA v. UNITED STATES, 190 F.2d 506; 1951 U.S. App. LEXIS 2453 (1951)”

    *****

    Where was Kawakita kept from the time of his conviction in 1948 until his deportation in 1963?

    I’ll repeat a question I posed to you earlier on this thread:

    “Doesn’t one have to find a country that will accept an American citizen who has been stripped of his/her citizenship? Wouldn’t such a person be a man/woman without a country?”

  4. bfm:

    Deportation to another country would require permission of the host country. Since we have very few cases of treason where death wasn’t the result — such as the Lincoln assassination conspiracy — we don’t know whether other countries might take traitors in on humanitarian grounds. Tokyo Rose fought deportation and was eventually allowed to remain in the US until her death in 2006.

    I like Cracker Jacks, too.

  5. mespo,

    Born in 1921 in Calexico, California,
    ==========================================
    Must have been an act of mercy. Try to make nice with Japan in 1963? Diplomacy, perhaps. Can you find another example?

  6. bfm,

    “Could laws like these be applied to foreign policy experts who council peace with Iran? What about activist who champion the cause of Palestinians? Could a mayor like Bloomberg designate the leaders of a protest group like OWS and have them held with out access to the courts? I don’t think anyone can give definitive answers to questions like these. That ought to be troubling to everyone. ”

    You might want to check with Susan Lindauer. Susan worked as a CIA asset. She had information re: Iraq that refuted the administrations story. She had legal representation that worked hand in glove with the government such that she was held without charge for months. Fortunately she never signed a non-disclosure agreement. She told her story in Extreme Prejudice, the Terrifying Story of the PATRIOT Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.

  7. Matt:

    “Deported where? Do you think a traitor is going to be turned loose? Where did you get your law degree if you have one? A Cracker Jack box.”

    *************************

    Well Matt, in 1963 Tomoya Kawakita, was deported to Japan by President Kennedy following a conviction for treason in 1948. TOMOYA KAWAKITA v. UNITED STATES, 190 F.2d 506; 1951 U.S. App. LEXIS 2453 (1951)

    I suggest you just let your little mind run wild uncluttered by any facts or easily ascertainable law. By the way, you get a lot of history in a Cracker Jack box. I’ll send you a pallet.

    • @mespo727272

      I think the question that is puzzling some of us is this: if the traitor were a US citizen and had their citizenship revoked then to where could they be deported. At the very least wouldn’t the receiving country have to give their permission.

      And didn’t a problem similar to this arise with some of the git’mo inmates being held instead of released specifically because no country wanted to admit them?

      BTW, I like Cracker Jacks very much but I do not have a law degree. One of the reasons I read here is that I sometimes pick up interesting bits that I don’t see else where.

  8. mespo,

    Matt:

    “Be deported where? American traitors are kept in American prison for life.”

    ******************
    18 USC § 2381: Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    It’s a legal blog, Matt. Thus it’s good to check your facts before just blurting them out.
    ===========================================================
    Deported where? Do you think a traitor is going to be turned loose? Where did you get your law degree if you have one? A Cracker Jack box.

  9. Off Topic:

    White Supremacist With Ties To Neo-Nazi Groups Elected To Pennsylvania County GOP Committee
    By Adam Peck
    ThinkProgress Justice
    May 31, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/31/492796/white-supremacist-with-ties-to-neo-nazi-groups-elected-to-pennsylvania-county-gop-committee/

    Excerpt:
    Republicans in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania have elected Steve Smith, a lifelong white supremacist with close ties to neo-Nazi groups and groups like Aryan Nations, to the county’s GOP Committee.

    The elections, which took place in late April, were certified by the committee two weeks ago, and Smith notified supporters of his victory last week by posting a message to the online forum White News Now.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Smith’s participation with known skinhead organizations like Keystone State Skinheads, (now Keystone United) which he co-founded in 2001. And his racist activism extends far beyond violent rhetoric as well, into actual violence:

    In March 2003, he and two other KSS members were arrested in Scranton for beating up Antoni Williams, a black man, using stones and chunks of pavement. Smith pleaded guilty to terrorist threats and ethnic intimidation and received a 60-day sentence and probation.

    Smith is also an active member of local Tea Party groups, a network that he used to gain support for his bid for the committee seat. According to the SPLC, Smith referred to the Tea Party as “fertile grounds for our activists.”

  10. bfm,

    Submitted for your . . . I’d say approval but really abject revulsion is probably the more appropriate reaction. It is more than just bad law that is creating tyranny. It’s the attitude that the enforcement system is currently encouraging. See this story (with video) at MSNBC:

    ‘First Amendment rights can be terminated’: When cops, cameras don’t mix

    ‘Your First Amendment rights can be terminated,’ yells the Chicago police officer, caught on video right before arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital. One, an NBC News photographer, was led away in handcuffs essentially for taking pictures in a public place. He was released only minutes later, but the damage was done. Chicago cops suffered an embarrassing “caught on tape” moment, and civil rights experts who say cops are unfairly cracking down on citizens with cameras had their iconic moment.

    Tales of reporters, protestors and citizen journalists being threatened or arrested for filming law enforcement officials during disputes are on the rise, critics say, with Occupy Wall Street protests a lightning rod for these incidents. The National Press Photographers Association claims it has documented 70 such arrests since September and, in May, called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to focus attention on the issue.

    ‘The First Amendment has come under assault on the streets of America,” the photography association said in a letter to Holder that was also signed by several other interest groups. “Police have arrested dozens of journalists and activists simply for attempting to document political protests in public spaces.”

    Such allegations are ironic, given the sharp rise in police surveillance technology, which gives cops vast capabilities to film citizens, said Catherine Crump, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney.”

    [emphasis added]

  11. mespo,

    Doesn’t one have to find a country that will accept an American citizen who has been stripped of his/her citizenship? Wouldn’t such a person be a man/woman without a country?

  12. […] Jonathan Turley, again not a Brown promoter, notes that even the law professor community has become obsessed with Warren’s strange boasts, including that she was the first nursing mother to take the New Jersey Bar exam: This morning three different law professors sent me this video of U.S. Senate Candidate and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren claiming to be the first nursing mother to ever take the bar exam. One of the professors, who is a liberal academic, noted that she knows that claim to be untrue from personal experience. […]

  13. Matt:

    “Be deported where? American traitors are kept in American prison for life.”

    ******************

    18 USC § 2381: Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    It’s a legal blog, Matt. Thus it’s good to check your facts before just blurting them out.

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