Daniel Doherty

Although I’ve been somewhat hesitant to touch this explosive story until the facts came out, I can now say without equivocation that Elizabeth Warren is technically Native American:

Desperately scrambling to validate Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage amid questions about whether she used her minority status to further her career, the Harvard Law professor’s campaign last night finally came up with what they claim is a Cherokee connection — her great-great-great-grandmother.

“She would be 1/32nd of Elizabeth Warren’s total ancestry,” noted genealogist Christopher Child said, referring to the candidate’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, who is listed on an Oklahoma marriage certificate as Cherokee. Smith is an ancestor on Warren’s mother’s side, Child said.

The missing link comes after Warren’s embattled campaign faced sharp questions about her Native American background in the wake of Herald stories that showed both Harvard Law School and Warren herself had touted her tribal lineage and claimed she was a member of a minority for years.

Warren’s shaken campaign faced another crisis yesterday when it was revealed that beginning in 1986 and continuing through 1995, Warren had listed herself as a minority professor in the Association of American Law Schools desk book, a directory of law professors from participating schools.

Unsurprisingly, the Warren campaign frantically issued several statements refuting allegations the U.S. Senate candidate purposefully used her minority status to advance her career.

“To suggest that she needed some special advantage to be hired here or anywhere is just silly. She was hired for her great abilities as a teacher and a scholar. Her family tree had nothing to do with it,” wrote Jay Westbrook, chairman of the business law school at the University of Texas at Austin, who hired Warren.

Again, what’s worth noting is that after claiming minority status for years, in 1995 (presumably after being hired as a full-time professor at Harvard University), her name was inexplicably removed from the list of minority law professors in the AALS directory. Allahpundit over at HotAir offers some interesting possibilities for why Professor Warren no longer wanted to tout – or perhaps publicly acknowledge – her Native American heritage. Nevertheless, the Brown campaign on Monday took full advantage of the situation.

“This story raises serious questions about Elizabeth Warren’s credibility. The record now shows Prof. Warren did claim to be a ‘minority,’ and that she attempted to mislead the public about these facts when she was first asked about the issue last week,” said Brown spokesman Jim Barnett. “Prof. Warren needs to come clean about her motivations for making these claims and explain the contradictions between her rhetoric and the record.”

As might be expected, Elizabeth Warren and her surrogates shamelessly resorted to DWS-style tactics yesterday in order to undermine Team Brown’s ongoing and so-called “outrageous” inquisition.

“If Scott Brown has questions about Elizabeth Warren’s well-known qualifications -- from her high marks as a teacher to her nationally recognized work on bankruptcy and the pressures on middle class families – he ought to ask them directly instead of hiding behind the nasty insinuations of his campaign and trying to score political points. Once again, the qualifications and ability of a woman are being called into question by Scott Brown who did the same thing with the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. It’s outrageous.”

Good grief. In fairness, no evidence has yet surfaced proving Elizabeth Warren intentionally lied about her roots to bolster her resume. But her deceptive rhetoric and foot-dragging should raise some eyebrows. In short, there are a number of perfectly legitimate questions that have obviously gone unanswered, not the least of which is why she’s no longer listed as a minority professor at Harvard University. And yet Democrats reflexively continue to spread the infuriating “war on women” meme to divert attention from the controversy and avoid answering unpalatable or potentially embarrassing questions. We’re now seeing the same thing happening in Massachusetts.

Yet even though Team Brown is benefiting from Elizabeth Warren’s latest gaffe, these are important questions that reporters – and the public – deserve answers to. Let’s hope she comes clean sooner than later -- for her own sake -- because a number of Native American groups are already less-than-pleased by the allegations.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography