Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection points out that Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is not licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, despite evidence that she has been doing just that.
In other words, the Cherokee law professor turns out to be neither a Native American, nor even a lawyer, but merely a liar and a cheat.
Of course, this is hardly a revelation to anyone familiar with the flaws - to use the most benign term possible - in her work on bankruptcy. There are really only two plausible explanations for said flaws: either Professor Warren lacks a mastery of 8th grade algebra, or she is prepared to lie brazenly in an effort to advance her political views.
Either explanation should disqualify her from any job in academia, though either explanation also suggests she is eminently qualified for the Senate seat she currently seeks.
Maybe we should look on the bright side; if she wins, maybe she'll turn out to have been lying about believing the socialist views she espouses.
I assume that the hierarchy of Warren campaign defenses against the charge of practicing law without a license will be something along the lines of
1) Of course I was licensed, but the dog ate my homework so I can't prove it, with the corollary
2) You can't prove that I wasn't licensed, followed by
3) I am shocked - shocked! - to learn that I wasn't licensed to practice law, but
4) This is the result of nothing more than a clerical error by my minions, for which I take full responsibility but reject any actual consequences, and finally, retreating to the bunker:
5) Anyway, it's not like anyone was harmed. My clients got the benefit of representation by a full-blown Harvard Law professor, after all, and that matters more than some piece of paper attesting to my competence. So suck it.
In point of fact, I think there is much to be said for fallback position number 5, in the sense that what matters should be underlying competence, rather than credentials that are intended to serve as markers of competence. I believe that both as a general proposition, and particularly with respect to professional associations that restrict competition under the guise of "consumer protection." And whatever their other merits, bar associations are very effective at restricting competition in the legal services market.
My libertarian views on professional associations notwithstanding, I see at least two problems related to fallback position number 5.
First, based on the quality of Professor Warren's bankruptcy work, as well as her claim of minority status, it is far from clear that she should enjoy a presumption of either intellectual or ethical suitability to practice law.
Second, a law professor, of all people, should be perfectly well aware of the legal requirements of her profession, and of her status with respect to such requirements. The law says that competent to practice law or not, you must have a license to do so, full stop. There are no exemptions for Harvard faculty, even in Boston.
The really amazing thing about all this is that, just weeks before election day, we are still learning that core elements of Professor Warren's biography are false. Is this representative of the sort of vetting Democrats get in Massachusetts? Actually, that would explain a lot. Still, though. How sure are we that Warren in really a grandmother from Oklahoma? At the rate we're going, by election day we will have learned that Elizabeth Warren is really a black guy from Roxbury named Dave.