The press is making too much of the DNA test results revealed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that purport to show she likely does have a distant ancestor who was Native American, according to Cornell Law professor William Jacobson.
Jacobson writes for the conservative blog Legal Insurrection and has attempted to trace Warren's lineage for years. He argued Monday that the results, which Warren released and had published in the Boston Globe, merely show she may have one single ancestor of Native American heritage six generations or more ago but said that report is not conclusive and that it would be inaccurate to say she proved her claims of lineage.
"Despite the weakness and speculative nature of the findings, media headlines are achieving Warren’s intended purpose of acting as if this is conclusive," wrote Jacobson.
He said Warren, D-Mass., is still unable to point to a specific ancestor who was Native American and that it is just as important that Warren "never lived as a Native American or associated with Native Americans."
The Globe's report said the DNA test, conducted by a Stanford University professor, indicated "strong evidence" of Native American lineage somewhere from six and 10 generations back for Warren. That would mean, the report said, that Warren could claim somewhere from 1/32 and 1/512 parts Native American. The Globe subsequently augmented its reporting, saying that a corrected math error actually showed the test would reflect a range of 1/64 to 1/1,024.
The controversy over Warren's heritage largely relates to her having identified as Native American on official forms from 1986-1995 at Harvard University, where she was a professor. Critics have suggested Warren identified as such to benefit from a kind of affirmative action at the school, noting that she dropped the identifier after having secured tenure.
Politics observers believe Warren participated in the DNA test in preparation for a 2020 run for president, an effort to neutralize attacks from Trump, who has mocked Warren by calling her "Pocahontas."