Did Joe Biden cheat in law school? What he said about the “stupid” error

When Joe Biden first ran for president in 1987, he was forced to admit he had plagiarized parts of an article he submitted as a freshman law student. in 1965.

‘I did something very stupid 23 years ago,’ Biden, then a senator from Delaware and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at a press briefing he called in response to the accusations. increasing plagiarism that threatened his candidacy.

Syracuse University School of Law initially failed him for plagiarizing, without citation, five pages from a published law journal.

The revision of the law in question was Torts as the basis of jurisdiction in product liability caseswhich was published in the May 1965 Fordham Law Review. Biden drew much of the legal language directly from it, including “The trend of judicial opinion in various jurisdictions has been that breach of an implied warranty of fitness is liable to prosecution without a legal relationship, because it is a tortious fault likely to be brought by a non-contracting party”, The New York Times reported at the time. Biden only included a footnote to this article in his post.

Biden said his “mistake” in law school was neither intentional nor “malicious.” He said it was due to ignorance and he simply misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully.

He said Syracuse University Law School faculty allowed him to repeat the course and the dean later vouched for his high character.

The then-presidential primary candidate released a 65-page dossier he got from law school, which he says contained all the records from his years there, to back up his claims of sincerity and honesty.

In a November 1965 letter he wrote in defense of himself, Biden wrote, “My intention was not to deceive anyone. Because if that was the case, I wouldn’t have been so blatant.”

“If I had intended to cheat, would I have been so stupid?” Biden later wrote.

Biden has also been accused of plagiarizing other politicians in his speeches.

In 1987, in Biden’s closing remarks during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Biden waived remarks by Neil Kinnock, the former leader of Britain’s Labor Party, without any attribution.

“I started thinking coming here,” Biden had told the debate audience, “why is Joe Biden the first in his family to go to college?” speech.

Biden had used Kinnock’s phrases before and was often careful to credit him. Kinnock himself always viewed the blunder as an innocent mistake. Biden had also been accused of giving several speeches on this campaign that were raised by politicians such as Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey without quoting them.

Although Biden dismissed those accusations as “much ado about nothing,” these gaffes proved to be his downfall, contributing to a “plagiarism scandal” that ended up ending his first run for the White House.

During his first run for president in 1987, Joe Biden’s unsuccessful bid was plagued by a plagiarism scandal dating back to his time at law school in 1965. Pictured, Biden arrives at the White House on the 18th May 2022 in Washington, DC
Winning McNamee/Getty

Nancy I. Romero