Georgetown Law students demand school fire professor for saying Biden's SCOTUS pick should be the most qualified

Georgetown Law students are calling for professor Ilya Shapiro's termination for saying Biden's SCOTUS pick should be based on merit.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Georgetown Law students are calling for professor Ilya Shapiro to be terminated from his new position at the school's Center for the Constitution, for a post he made late last month saying President Joe Biden's Supreme Court justice pick should not be based on race, but should be the person best fit for the position.

"Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identity 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 had tweeted on Jan. 26.

"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," he continued, according to writer Bari Weiss.

Shapiro deleted the tweets after intense backlash, with the dean calling the tweets "appalling" and "at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law."

"I sincerely and deeply apologize for some poorly drafted tweets I posted late Wednesday night," Shapiro wrote in an apology addressed to the Dean William Treanor and the entire Georgetown community.

"Issues of race are of course quite sensitive, and debates over affirmative action are always fraught. My intent was to convey my opinion that excluding potential Supreme Court candidates . . . simply because of their race or gender, was wrong and harmful to the long term reputation of the Court. It was not to cast aspersions on the qualifications of a whole group of people, let alone question their worth as human beings. A person’s dignity and worth simply do not, and should not, depend on any immutable characteristic. Those who know me know that I am sincere about these sentiments, and I would be more than happy to meet with any of you who have doubts about the quality of my heart," he said, according to Weiss.

After the liberal mob pounced, Shapiro released an additional statement to his Twitter, saying that he regrets his "poor choice of words."

On Jan. 28, Georgetown's Black Law Students Association posted a letter to Twitter demanding the revocation of Shapiro's employment contract. Shapiro was scheduled to begin work on Feb. 1.

"We, the Georgetown's Black Law Student Association, write on behalf of the Georgetown University Law Center student body to, demand the renovation of Ilya Shapiro's employment contact and to condemn his racist tweets," the letter begins.

"At Georgetown law, Black students are haunted by the shadow of imposter syndrome. Shapiro reinforced this phenomenon by reducing Black women’s accomplishments to 'small favors' from 'heaven.' Shapiro’s tweets and apparent prejudice have no place at our university. The revocation of his employment is more than appropriate," the letter continues.

The letter includes a list of five demands that the groups wants the university to take action on, which on top of the above demands, includes "reserving a seat for a BLSA representative on every Faculty Appointment Subtend-Faculty Committee and requiring including of Black students in the hiring for all faculty and staff," and "funding an endowment to support Black student recruitment, retention, programming, and organizations."

The letter also expressed dissatisfaction with the dean's emailed statement, which they said was "bare-bones" and "offered no apology or action plan."

On Monday, a message went out to Georgetown students stating that "a coalition of Georgetown Law Students will gather for a sit-in calling for the immediate termination of Ilya Shapiro and for the administration to address BLSA demands."

According to the National Review, Dean Treanor answered questions from students in the auditorium for more than an hour, echoing how he was "appalled" by the "painful" nature of Shapiro's tweets, promising to "listen," "learn" and ultimately "do better."

"But he also seemed to be attempting to appease the students without committing to any definitive disciplinary action for Shapiro. 'Since we’re a private institution, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to us,' he said. 'It’s not the First Amendment that’s the university’s guideline.' But 'on the other hand, the university does have a free speech and expression policy which binds us.'" the National Review wrote,

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education issued a statement to Twitter defending Shapiro, stating: "Amidst criticism of Ilya Shapiro, Georgetown must live up to its promises of free expression. We are here to make sure they do."

"Georgetown says that 'untrammeled expression' is 'central to its being,' and that speech will not be suppressed even when many think it 'offensive, unwise, immortal, or ill conceived.' Freedom of expression protects both the rights of a lecturer to offer views that others believe to be wrong or offensive, just as it protects the rights of Georgetown's students, faculty, and administrators to respond to those views with vociferous criticism," the statement reads.

"But the university's commitment to freedom of expression bars it from acceding to demands that Shapiro be disciplined on the basis that others find his speech offensive or wrong. Allowing untrammeled speech about our national political leaders and difficult issues surrounding race and identity is critical to the democratic process," the statement concludes.

"But the tragic reality here," Weiss wrote on Substack, "is that there is no reward for being decent or admitting regret or apologizing. In our increasingly graceless culture, decency can be a one-way ticket to exile."


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