Wednesday, August 17, 2022
HomeFacultyGeorgetown Admin on Leave for ‘Lesser’ Black Nominee Tweet

Georgetown Admin on Leave for ‘Lesser’ Black Nominee Tweet

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Georgetown University has placed an incoming administrator and lecturer on leave for criticizing racial preferences in US Supreme Court nominations. 

Prominent libertarian and soon-to-be executive director of Georgetown Law School, Ilya Shapiro, criticized President Joe Biden for nominating not “the objectively best pick” but a “lesser” Black woman to be the next Supreme Court justice.

Last week, Biden reiterated his campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the nation’s highest court to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. There has never been a Black female justice on the Supreme Court.

Shapiro criticized Biden’s stance, tweeting that the “objective” best pick for the position would be Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  

“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart,” Shapiro wrote. “Even has identity politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?”

Many on social media have criticized Shapiro for being racially insensitive, some even calling for the prestigious law school — which sits within a mile of the Supreme Court — to revoke Shapiro’s hiring.

Reaction

The backlash resulted in Shapiro apologizing and deleting his post from social media. He expressed regret for his “inartful tweet” though he maintained in an email to The New York Times that there were no grounds for disciplinary action by the school.

“Mr. Shapiro, as one of your future Georgetown colleagues, I am curious: is your phrase “lesser Black woman” meant to describe a particular Black woman or do you intend “lesser Black woman” to encompass the general set of Black women under consideration for the seat?” one Twitter user asked.

The Georgetown Black Law Student Association is circulating a petition calling on administrators to terminate the lecturer. He reduced the accomplishments of Black women to “small favors,” the petition reads. “Shapiro’s tweets and apparent prejudice have no place at our university.”

Dean of the Georgetown Law Center William M. Treanor wrote an email to students saying the university would investigate whether Mr. Shapiro had violated any of the school’s policies on professionalism and anti-harassment.

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

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