Law Schools

Georgetown Law retains incoming scholar despite his 'lesser Black woman' tweet

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The Georgetown University Law Center won’t be firing the incoming leader of its constitutional center after determining that his controversial tweets happened before his Feb. 1 start date.

Conservative legal scholar Ilya Shapiro can retain his position as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution and will still be able to teach upper-class elective courses as a senior lecturer, according to a statement by Georgetown Law law dean William M. Treanor.

Law360, the Washington Post and Reuters have coverage.

Shapiro had tweeted in January that objectively, the best U.S. Supreme Court pick by President Joe Biden would be federal appeals Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, but “we’ll get [a] lesser Black woman” instead. Biden didn’t nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court until the following month.

Georgetown Law had placed Shapiro on administrative leave, while the school investigated whether he violated its policies.

Treanor said in his statement he was concerned about the impact of Shapiro’s tweets, and he has told Shapiro that he is expected “to communicate in a professional manner.”

Shapiro wrote about his experience in a June 2 opinion column for the Wall Street Journal entitled, “My Cancel-Culture Nightmare Is Over.”

“It was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone except perhaps the instigators of the Twitter mob that launched this tempest,” Shapiro wrote.

Shapiro said his tweets were “inartful.” But he stands by his view that Biden should have considered all possible nominees, and the president’s best choice would have been Srinivasan.

Shapiro wrote that he would conduct himself professionally—and he will hold Treanor to the same standard.

“On my part, that means muting and blocking bad-faith Twitter antagonists—some of whom, I’m sorry to say, are in academia—and resisting the urge to correct all who are wrong on the internet. Not that bad tweets are firing offenses, but it would be good practice for all of us to stop late-night doom-scrolling and launching snarky ripostes to each latest inanity from our governing classes.

“On Georgetown’s part, that means encouraging robust debate and being as committed to intellectual diversity as any other kind. Across the nation, campus cultures have been growing increasingly hostile, with students outing each other (and professors) for ideological transgressions and self-censoring to avoid potential trouble. We have to reverse that trend,” Shapiro wrote.

See also: “Georgetown Law dean blasts new hire for now-deleted tweets on future Biden SCOTUS nominee”

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