Georgetown Puts Ilya Shapiro on Administrative Leave for Criticizing Biden Supreme Court Promise

President has pledged to nominate a black woman to Supreme Court

Ilya Shapiro / YouTube
January 31, 2022

Ilya Shapiro, the Georgetown University law professor who criticized Joe Biden's pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, has been placed on administrative leave, the school announced Monday.

William Treanor, the dean of Georgetown University Law Center, told the law school in an email that Shapiro would remain on leave "pending an investigation into whether he violated our policies and expectations on professional conduct, non-discrimination, and anti-harassment." Until the investigation is concluded, Treanor said, Shapiro "will not be on campus."

The move comes in response to widespread outrage from Georgetown law students, who launched multiple petitions that called for Shapiro to be fired after his posts on Biden's decision to base his Supreme Court nomination on race and gender. One petition, which garnered more than 350 signatures in 24 hours, said Shapiro's views were "antithetical to Georgetown Law's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion" and asked the school to "reconsider the decision to hire" him.

Another petition, from Georgetown's Black Law Students Association, criticized Treanor for sending only "a barebones email" in the wake of Shapiro's "offensive statements." In that email, Treanor said that Shapiro's "appalling" and "demeaning" words were "at odds with everything" the law school stands for.

Treanor's latest announcement acknowledged those petitions and regurgitated parts of their language. "Over the past several days, I have heard the pain and outrage of so many at Georgetown Law, and particularly from our Black female students, staff, alumni, and faculty," Treanor said. "Ilya Shapiro's tweets are antithetical to the work that we do here every day to build inclusion, belonging, and respect for diversity."

Shapiro tweeted on Jan. 26 that the "objectively best pick" to replace Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer is Sri Srinivasan, an Indian-American judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He's a "solid prog[ressive] & v[ery] 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 [a] lesser black woman." Shapiro later apologized for his "poorly drafted" tweets.

The university has not always been so quick to police its professors' social media. In 2018, Georgetown security studies professor Christine Fair tweeted that supporters of Brett Kavanaught's confirmation "deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps." As a "bonus," she said, "we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine." Though Twitter temporarily suspended Fair, the university took no action against her.

"Our policy does not prohibit speech based on the person presenting ideas or the content of those ideas," a Georgetown spokesperson told Fox News, "even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial, or objectionable."

Georgetown did not respond to a request for comment about whether its policy had changed.