Georgetown suspends lecturer who criticized vow to put black woman on Supreme Court

Georgetown University Law School on Monday furloughed a newly hired administrator after he said on Twitter that President Biden would no...


Georgetown University Law School on Monday furloughed a newly hired administrator after he said on Twitter that President Biden would not appoint ‘the best choice objectively’, but an ‘inferior black woman’ to be the next judge. of the Supreme Court.

The decision came a day before the researcher, Ilya Shapiro, a prominent libertarian, was scheduled to assume his role as senior lecturer and executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, which is part of the Faculty of Law.

Mr. Shapiro, a constitutional law expert at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, drew a sharp rebuke from students, faculty members and alumni with his comments about the process of finding the next judge. The posts have since been deleted.

In a tweet posted on January 26, Mr. Shapiro suggested that Mr. Biden nominate Sri Srinivasan, Indian-born Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to succeed Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the Supreme Court.

“Objectively, the best choice for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is a strong smart prog&v,” Mr. Shapiro wrote. “Even identity politics has the advantage of being the first Asian American (Indian). But alas, it doesn’t fit into the latest hierarchy of intersectionality, so we’ll have fewer black women. Thank heaven for small favors? »

Some had called on the law school, which is among the most prestigious in the country and is less than a mile from the Supreme Court, to reverse its decision to hire Mr. Shapiro.

Mr. Shapiro had weighed in on Mr. Biden’s pledge to appoint the first black woman on the Supreme Court to replace Justice Breyer, who last week announced his plans to retire.

In an email to the law school, whose official name is the Georgetown University Law Center, its dean said Monday the university would investigate whether Mr. Shapiro had violated any of the school’s policies. regarding professional conduct, non-discrimination and anti-harassment.

“Over the past few days, I have heard the pain and outrage of so many at Georgetown Law, and especially our black students, staff, alumni and faculty,” said Dean William M. Treanor. “Ilya Shapiro’s tweets are contrary to the work we do here every day to build inclusion, belonging and respect for diversity.”

In an email to The New York Times on Monday, Mr. Shapiro expressed regret for his tweets, but he maintained that they were not grounds for disciplinary action by the law school.

“I am optimistic that Georgetown’s investigation will be fair, impartial and professional,” Mr. Shapiro said. “And I’m confident he will reach the only reasonable conclusion: my tweet wasn’t resourceful and undermined my anti-discrimination message, which is why I apologized. This was not, however, a violation of any university rule or policy, and is indeed protected by Georgetown’s policies on free speech.

In a later tweet that Mr. Shapiro also deleted, he said that if Mr. Biden limited his search to black women lawyers, his nominee “will always have an asterisk attached.”

“It is appropriate for the Court to take positive action in the next quarter,” he added.

The Georgetown Negro Law Students Association condemned Mr. Shapiro’s remarks, whom he called racist. The group called on the university to rescind their job offer in a petition signed by more than 900 people.

“At Georgetown Law, black students are haunted by the shadow of impostor syndrome,” the association said in a letter to the law school on Friday. “Shapiro reinforced this phenomenon by reducing the achievements of black women to ‘small favors’ from ‘heaven’.

Other academics, conservatives and free speech activists have rallied behind Shapiro, including the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an advocacy group that focuses on First Amendment issues in the Higher Education.

The group published on its website on Monday a letter supporting Mr. Shapiro which he said had been signed by nearly 60 university professors across the country.

“Academic freedom protects Shapiro’s opinions, whether we agree with them or not,” the group’s letter reads. “And the debate over the appointment of the president, and whether race and gender play an appropriate role in those appointments more generally, would be impoverished – in Georgetown and elsewhere – if that view could not be expressed. safely in universities.”

The Cato Institute referred questions to Mr. Shapiro.

Mr. Shapiro, whose hiring was acclaimed by the law school in a Press release on January 21, said in his Monday email that he was eager to begin his new role.

“As a result, I expect to be vindicated and look forward to joining my new colleagues at short notice,” he said.

In announcing the decision to furlough Mr. Shapiro, Professor Treanor said Mr. Shapiro would not be on campus while the law school conducts its investigation.

“Racial stereotypes about individual abilities and qualifications remain a pernicious force in our society and our profession,” Professor Treanor said. “I am fully aware that our law school is not exempt.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: Georgetown suspends lecturer who criticized vow to put black woman on Supreme Court
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