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Think tank executive accuses Biden of plagiarism in 2000 article

 September 10, 2023

A Harvard Law School alumnus has stepped forward to allege that Joe Biden committed plagiarism in a 2000 journal article.

In a recent revelation, Roger Severino, a Harvard Law School graduate and currently a vice president at the Heritage Foundation, accused Biden of wrongfully appropriating content and using it in a journal submission. This allegation brings forth yet another instance in Biden's career where he has faced such accusations, as the Daily Mail reported.

Heritage foundation VP uncovers plagiarism

While still a student at Harvard, Severino was working as a junior editor for the Harvard Journal on Legislation.

During his tenure, he stumbled upon several instances of apparent plagiarism in an essay submitted by Biden.

This essay sought to defend the federal Violence Against Women Act.

Severino said:

I was shocked by the plagiarism I discovered. He had lifted language straight out of a [federal court] opinion, changed a couple words, and called them his own. There were no quote marks and no footnote or anything else attributing the court as the source.

Journal editors allegedly 'fix' the issue

Severino's findings led him to notify the chief editor of the journal, suggesting that the article be rejected.

However, according to him, instead of addressing the issue straightforwardly, the editors chose to "cover for Biden."

They corrected the essay by adding appropriate citations and proceeded as if the incident had never transpired.

Speaking about this behavior of editors, Severino said:

They "fixed" the plagiarism by adding proper attributions and acted like the whole incident never happened.

Yet, Severino believes that these weren't simple oversights or innocent mistakes by Biden.

Contextual reference in Biden's article

The court opinion, which Biden allegedly failed to credit properly, was possibly the 4th Circuit decision in Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

In the finalized version of Biden's article, several references to the dissenting view in this case, penned by Judge Diana Jane Gribbon Motz of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, are noticeable.

Efforts to contact the semi-retired Judge Gribbon Motz for her comments were unsuccessful.

Biden's previous plagiarism controversies

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time President Biden has faced plagiarism allegations and claims about his at times precarious relationship with the truth.

During the 1988 Democratic presidential primary, Biden was called out for reusing quotes from British politician Neil Kinnock without attribution during a debate.

Moreover, a recent article by the Washington Post highlighted Biden's inclination to exaggerate personal tales beyond believable boundaries.

Furthermore, during his law studies in the 1960s, Biden admitted to copying five pages from a published law review without proper citation.

Though he received an "F" for this oversight, he was allowed a chance to retake the course.

Recalling the incident from the 1960s, Biden remarked:

I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way.

However, the 1980s saw perhaps the most notorious of his controversies, with the aforementioned use of Kinnock's words.

During a debate, Biden reused portions of one of Kinnock's well-known speeches without crediting him. This oversight, highlighted by an aide, was capitalized upon by the opposition, leading to significant media scrutiny.

The aftermath of the Kinnock scandal

A significant consequence of the incident was that the media then also highlighted Biden's exaggerated claims about his law school ranking.

Contrary to his assertion that he had been in the top half of his class, he was actually ranked 76th out of 85 students.

The Kinnock-related scandal is often believed to have ended Biden's initial presidential aspirations.

Interestingly, Kinnock, the British politician from whom Biden had copied, seems to have overlooked the misstep and even endorsed Biden's presidential run in 2020, calling him an "honest guy."


  • Roger Severino from the Heritage Foundation accuses President Joe Biden of plagiarism in a 2000 journal article.
  • Severino discovered the alleged plagiarism while being a junior editor at the Harvard Journal on Legislation.
  • The journal's editors are claimed to have 'fixed' the issue instead of rejecting the article.
  • This isn't Biden's first brush with plagiarism allegations; past incidents include the Neil Kinnock controversy during the 1988 Democratic primary.
  • Kinnock seems to have forgiven Biden for the past incident and endorsed his 2020 presidential bid.