Georgetown University’s Black Law Students Association is demanding an incoming professor’s job offer be rescinded after he tweeted that President Biden’s promise to pick a black female to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is racist.
Ilya Shapiro, who is currently director of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, is supposed to be joining Georgetown’s law faculty in Washington, D.C., on February 1 as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.
But his tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a black woman has drawn outrage from the student body and other Twitter users.
After news spread of Breyer’s retirement on Wednesday, President Biden confirmed that he intends to nominate a black woman to the high court, calling it ‘long overdue.’
It led to Shapiro tweeting: ‘Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart [sic]. Even has identify politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into the latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?’
Ilya Shapiro, who due to join Georgetown Law school next week, has been rebuked over social media posts
Shapiro posted on Twitter questioning the qualifications of any black woman that President Joe Biden may nominate to replace Justice Stephen Breyer
Another tweet then stated: ‘Because Biden said he’s only consider[ing] black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term.’
But Shapiro still wasn’t finished and decided to post a poll with the question: ‘Is Joe Biden racist and sexist for saying his Supreme Court nominee will be a black woman?’
Shapiro has since deleted the messages. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment but apologized on Twitter.
‘I meant no offense, but it was an inartful tweet,’ he wrote.
Another tweet stated: ‘Because Biden said he’s only consider[ing] black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term.’
Shapiro still wasn’t finished and in a third tweet decided to post a poll asking whether Joe Biden was racist
The Black Law Students Association at the university is now demanding that Shapiro not be allowed to take up his post next week.
‘Our concern and frustration is not rooted in Shapiro’s opinion that someone else is more qualified for the position. Instead, our anger stems from Shapiro’s suggestion that any black woman, regardless of their qualifications, would be a “lesser” choice for the Court,’ the Association began.
‘Shapiro’s racist rhetoric and continued association with the University sends the visceral message that even if black women attend the best law schools, hold the highest clerkships, and serve on the most prestigious courts, they still are not good enough. Time and time again, black law students at Georgetown are left defending their legitimacy at this institution and place in the law.
‘I meant no offense, but it was an inartful tweet,’ Shapiro wrote, inflaming the situation futher
Georgetown University’s Black Law Students Association is demanding his offer of a post at the Law School be rescinded
Georgetown University Law Center is one of the top law schools in the nation and the most prestigious law school in Washington, D.C.
The dean of Georgetown University Law Center William M. Treanor condemned Shapiro’s posts questioning the qualifications of any black woman that President Joe Biden may nominate to replace retiring Justice Breyer. But then Treanor’s response also came under fire
‘Only after students, professors, and the media denounced Shapiro did he delete and regard his tweet as “inartful.” But Shapiro’s statements were not just “inartful.” They were offensive, racist, sexist, misogynistic, inflammatory, deplorable, insensitive, and unprofessional. We are disappointed and frustrated but not surprised.’
The dean of Georgetown University Law Center condemned Shapiro’s posts questioning the qualifications of any black woman that President Joe Biden may nominate to replace retiring Justice Breyer.
‘The tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling. The tweets are at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law and are damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion that Georgetown Law is building every day.
But his tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling,’ wrote dean William M. Treanor in a message to the law school community.
‘The tweets are at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law and are damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion that Georgetown Law is building every day,’ he added.
President Joe Biden (right) grabs the hand of retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
Justice Breyer (right) holds up a copy of the U.S. Constitution as he briefly addressed the press during Thursday’s event in the Roosevelt Room
But the Black Law Students Association then took aim at Treanor over a similar lack of ‘apology or action plan.’
‘His bare-bones email acknowledging Shapiro’s recent appointment and offensive statements offered no apology or action plan. Nor did it speak to the perpetual issue of inadequate hiring practices. Treanor noted that Shapiro’s rhetoric is in opposition to Georgetown Law’s values and is “damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion that Georgetown Law is building every day.” While we find Shapiro’s rhetoric offensive, the thrust of this demand is not to put him on trial for tweeting it – it is to question whether, in light of these tweets, he deserves to hold a space as a leader and educator in the Georgetown community. We believe that he does not,’ the associated concluded.
Later, Shapiro posted a more lengthy statement back on Twitter in which he attempted to clarify his earlier remarks.
‘I regret my poor choice of words, which undermined my message that nobody should be discriminated against for his or her skin color. A person’s dignity and worth simply do not, and should not, depend on race, gender, or any other immutable characteristic,’ Shapiro wrote.
Later, Shapiro posted a more lengthy statement back on Twitter in which he attempted to clarify his earlier remarks
‘While it’s important that a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds be represented in the judiciary, so blatantly using identity politics in choosing Supreme Court justices is discrediting to a vital institution. Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan is, in my mind, the most qualified nominee a Democratic president could choose. Reasonable people can disagree on that particular assessment, but it’s a shame that he and other men and women of every race are excluded from the outset of the selection process,’ he explained.
Shapiro also penned something similar in an apology that was sent directly into the inboxes of the Georgetown community.
‘In seeking to join the Georgetown community, I wanted to contribute to your worthy mission to educate students, inform the public, and engage in the battle of legal ideas that lead to justice and fairness. I still want to do that. Recklessly framed tweets like this week’s obviously don’t advance that mission, for which I am also truly sorry. Regardless of whether anyone agrees or disagrees with me on a host of legal and policy issues, I can and will do better with regard to how I communicate my positions,’ he wrote.
On social media, Shapiro’s apology carried little weight as he came in for sharp criticism
On social media, Shapiro’s apology carried little weight.
‘If you are trying to prove you have no idea how racist your original tweet was you’re doing great! Otherwise I’d workshop this a bit more,’ wrote lawyer Mirriam Zary.
‘Not as racist as declaring Sri Srinivasan ineligible because she is not of the preferred race,’ said another Twitter user.
‘This response isn’t going to please anyone,’ tweeted Joe Vols.
‘A good lawyer would’ve had this statement a lot faster with a lot better apology,’ said Stephen Choloula.
‘That’s a lot of words to use just to reaffirm your original position that there isn’t a single black woman in the whole United States who’s qualified to sit on the Supreme Court,’ added another user.
‘The most non-apology apology. I’m going to enjoy you being CANCELED,’ wrote one more.
‘Dude how can you screw up an apology multiple times. I guess when you’re not actually sorry,’ surmised Justin Saddle.
‘In other words, I meant what I said,’ inferred Alvin Burney.
‘You had two days to draft a response and it sucks,’ concluded another.
Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in April 2021