Lecturer suspended after comments about Biden's Supreme Court selection

Ilya Shapiro has since apologized.

February 1, 2022, 5:31 PM

Georgetown Law announced it will suspend a senior lecturer over his tweets criticizing President Joe Biden's promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.

In a tweet posted last week, that has since been deleted, Ilya Shapiro, the incoming executive director of the Center for the Constitution and senior lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, said Biden will be nominating not "the objectively best pick" but a "lesser" Black woman to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer who will be retiring at the end of the current term.

"Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. 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?" Shapiro said in the tweet, according to a story by Reason he shared on twitter.

Shapiro will remain on leave pending the outcome of an investigation conducted by the university and he will not be on campus, according to William Treanor, dean of Georgetown University Law Center.

PHOTO: Ilya Shapiro is seen in this undated photo.
Ilya Shapiro is seen in this undated photo.

"I have placed Ilya Shapiro on administrative leave, pending an investigation into whether he violated our policies and expectations on professional conduct, non-discrimination, and anti-harassment, the results of which will inform our next steps," Treanor said in his statement to members of the Georgetown Law community.

Shapiro was hired by the university in January to direct one of Georgetown Law's research institutes. He was set to begin his new role on Tuesday, before his suspension was put in place, according to Georgetown's website.

"Ilya Shapiro's tweets are antithetical to the work that we do here every day to build inclusion, belonging, and respect for diversity," Treanor said in a statement on Monday.

"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," Treanor said in another statement on Thursday.

Georgetown's Black Law Students' Association, in a letter published on Friday, demanded that the university revoke Shapiro's employment and condemn his statements.

After deleting them, Shapiro apologized for the tweets, saying he regrets his poor choice of words which "undermined" his 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," he said in his Twitter post. "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."

In response to the university's decision, Shapiro said he was confident the investigation will be fair, impartial and professional "though there's really not much to investigate."

"My tweet didn't violate any university rule or policy and indeed is protected by Georgetown policies on free expression. Accordingly, I expect to be vindicated and look forward to joining my new colleagues in short order," Shapiro said in a tweet.

Georgetown Law declined to comment further on the matter, saying it cannot comment on personnel matters. Shapiro has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

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