Monday, August 06, 2012

Harvard Knew Elizabeth Warren Was a Poor Scholar When They Hired Her

When Harvard Law School offered Elizabeth Warren a tenured faculty position in February 1993, administrators at the school knew that her scholarship had been criticized harshly. Between 1989 and 1991, three leading academic experts on bankruptcy wrote devastating critiques of the 1989 book she co-authored with Teresa Sullivan and Jay Westbrook, As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America. The reviews, published in highly respected academic journals, belied claims made at the time of her hiring by Harvard Law School Dean Robert C. Clark that her work reflected "excellent scholarship" and by Appointments Committee member Professor Charles Fried that she was "at the very top of her profession as a scholar."

Charges from one expert, Professor Philip Shuchman of Rutgers Law School, that Warren and her co-authors engaged in "scientific misconduct" were made in a 1990 edition of the Rutgers Law Review. Those charges remain controversial to this day. Breitbart News has learned that at least one member of the faculty at Harvard Law School brought the Shuchman allegations to the attention of the Appointments Committee in late 1992 as it began to consider Ms. Warren's qualifications to join the faculty on a permanent basis. Neither former Dean Robert C. Clark nor Professor Charles Fried, both of whom served on the Appointments Committee at the time, have confirmed this report.

Another member of the Harvard Law School faculty during that period, Professor Alan Dershowitz, told Breitbart News that he was unfamiliar with the Shuchman allegations. "I was not on [the Appointments] [C]ommittee," he said, "and do not recall any such charge." Professor Dershowitz noted that Ms. Warren's qualifications as an instructor were strong. "She was regarded as the best classroom teacher at the law school," he added. His knowledge of Ms. Warren's scholarly qualifications, however, was limited to what the Appointments Committee communicated to him during the meeting held on February 5, 1993 to consider her appointment to a tenured faculty position.

Based on the evidence currently available to Breitbart News, it appears that neither the Appointments Committee nor Dean Clark investigated the merits of Shuchman's allegations of "scientific misconduct," nor did they inform the full faculty that such charges had been made. In addition, they appear not to have informed the full faculty of the two other substantive critiques of Ms. Warren's work that did not involve allegations of "scientific misconduct." Indeed, based on their subsequent public statements that incorrectly characterized the quality of Ms. Warren's record of scholarship, it is possible to speculate that both Professor Fried and Dean Clark likely failed to point out Ms. Warren's academic shortcomings.

You can read the rest of this article here at

No comments: