Did Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito reference Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee heritage claims this week?
It sure sounded that way Monday as the court wrestled with “race conscious” admissions policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alito, a member of the conservative wing of the court, pushed North Carolina Solicitor General Ryan Park about the controversial matter — without ever name-dropping the Massachusetts senator and onetime presidential candidate.
Alito asked what would stop a student from using family “lore” as a reason to claim minority status.
“It’s family lore that we have an ancestor who was an American Indian,” Alito stated during oral arguments.
Park responded it would not be fair for an applicant to make such a claim.
“I identify as an American Indian because I’ve always been told that some ancestor back in the old days was an American Indian,” Alito then stated.
Park admitted the student, in that hypothetical case, wouldn’t be truthful.
Alito appeared to be referring to Warren and her oft-criticized claims of Native American lineage, as first reported in the Herald.
Warren’s office did not respond to a Herald request for comment on Alito’s line of questioning. She did, however, comment of the MBTA general manager’s resignation as “long overdue.”
The story of Warren’s handling of her family lore of belonging to the Cherokee Nation became public when she was in the midst of a U.S. Senate race. In April of 2012, the Herald reported that Warren’s Native American lineage was once touted by Harvard Law School officials who cited her claim as proof of their faculty’s diversity. She was in the midst of a successful campaign for U.S. Senate against Scott Brown.
The same month, the Herald reported Warren was touting her claim of Cherokee heritage as early as 1984, according to a cookbook titled “Pow Wow Chow” edited by her cousin that includes Warren’s recipes for a savory crab omelet and spicy barbecued beans. Warren is identified as “Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee” under each of five recipes.
In October of 2018, Warren released results of a DNA test that shows she likely had a Native American ancestor six to 10 generations back, meaning she’s about 1/64th to 1/1,024th Indian. The Cherokee Nation disapproves of the test. She also posts a video on YouTube defending her heritage.
In the winter of 2019, Warren calls Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, to apologize for taking the test.
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