State Watch

Incoming Georgetown Law administrator apologizes after backlash over Supreme Court tweets

The incoming director at a law and research organization at Georgetown University apologized on Friday for his tweets criticizing President Biden’s commitment to selecting the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

Ilya Shapiro, the current vice president and director at the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute who is set to assume the role of executive director for the Georgetown Center for the Constitution on Feb. 1, said the appointment could wind up being “a lesser black woman” in a tweet on Wednesday.

The tweet drew widespread rebuke.

“I apologize. I meant no offense, but it was an inartful tweet. I have taken it down,” he tweeted.

After news broke that Justice Stephen Breyer was stepping down and the president reaffirmed his campaign pledge to nominate the first Black female justice, Shapiro tweeted that if Biden followed through on that commitment, the appointment “will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term,” according to The Washington Post, which reviewed the now-deleted tweets.

In a separate tweet, Shapiro said a better pick would be Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identify politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American,” he tweeted, according to the Post. “But alas doesn’t fit into the latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman.”

Another tweet included a poll asking whether Biden was racist, sexist, both or neither for selecting a Black woman.

The tweets drew criticism, including among Shapiro’s future colleagues.

“The tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling,” said Bill Treanor, the dean of Georgetown Law, in a message to students, according to Reuters.

Shapiro has also come under fire for other comments on race.

The law administrator criticized affirmative action, speaking recently against it on a video at the Cato Institute regarding a Supreme Court challenge against the University of North Carolina on whether universities can use race as a factor in the admissions process.

And after Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009 by then-President Obama, Shapiro called the move “identity politics” in a CNN column.

Tags Barack Obama Biden nominations Biden nominees Cato Institute Georgetown University Ilya Shapiro Joe Biden Sonia Sotomayor Stephen Breyer Supreme Court Supreme Court justice Supreme Court nominations supreme court nominees

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