Law Professor Suspended for Criticizing Biden’s ‘Affirmative Action’ SCOTUS Pick Will Get Job Back

Law Professor Suspended for Criticizing Biden’s ‘Affirmative Action’ SCOTUS Pick Will Get Job Back
A student studies in the sunshine at Georgetown University in Washington, on March 9, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Bill Pan

Georgetown University has reinstated the director of its constitutional law program, who had been suspended for objecting to President Joe Biden’s explicit race- and gender-driven plan to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

Ilya Shapiro, who would have started working as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution on Feb. 1, became a target of progressives because of a series of Twitter posts in which he criticized Biden’s use of race and gender criteria for selecting a replacement for retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & smart,” Shapiro wrote in one of the now-deleted Jan. 26 posts. “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?”

“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 wrote in another post.

After receiving backlash, Shapiro quickly released an apology for his “inartful” choice of words, but insisted that Biden’s “blatantly using identity politics in choosing Supreme Court justices is discrediting to a vital institution.”

The apology wasn’t received well by the progressives in the campus community. Georgetown’s Black Law Students Association on Jan. 28 released a statement calling on the law school to fire Shapiro, along with a list of other demands. Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor reacted by placing Shapiro on suspension, pledging to investigate him for potential violation of “professional conduct, non-discrimination and anti-harassment” policies.

In a lengthy announcement on June 2, Treanor said an investigation found Shapiro “was not properly subject to discipline,” since he wasn’t yet a Georgetown employee when he wrote those comments, and as a result, he will assume the position he was hired for.

The dean stressed that the university still found Shapiro’s opinions “harmful” and “antithetical” to its goal of building “inclusion, belonging, and respect,” but ultimately decided to reinstate him for technical reasons.

“I am deeply aware of the pain this incident has given rise to in our campus community, particularly but not exclusively among our Black female students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” Treanor said, promising that Shapiro will undergo mandatory “programming on implicit bias, cultural competence, and non-discrimination.”

Shapiro wrote on Twitter that he is looking forward to promoting “freedom to think” and “diversity of ideas” at Georgetown Law.

“As befitting a Center for the Constitution, all students and participants in my programs can expect to be accorded the freedom to think and speak freely and to be treated equally: a diversity of ideas will be most welcome,” he wrote.

Breyer, who first joined the bench in 1994, is set to retire later this year. He will be replaced by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is set to become the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.