Incoming Georgetown Law professor prompts backlash by saying Biden will pick 'lesser Black woman' for Supreme Court

·2 min read
President Joe Biden at his first press conference of 2022.
President Joe Biden.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Ilya Shapiro prompted outrage with tweets predicting who would be next to join the Supreme Court.

  • He suggested Biden would pick a "lesser Black woman" over a more suitable man.

  • Shapiro was criticized by Georgetown colleagues and deleted the posts.

An incoming Georgetown Law professor prompted outrage with a tweet that said President Joe Biden would nominate a "lesser Black woman" instead of a more qualified man to join the Supreme Court.

Ilya Shapiro, a constitutional-law expert, was reacting to reports of Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement, which gives Biden his first chance to shape the nation's highest court.

"Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart," Shapiro tweeted.

"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?"

"Because Biden said he's only consider black women for SCOTUS, his nomination will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term," he wrote in a second tweet.

Shapiro was referring both to Biden's 2020 campaign pledge to appoint the first Black female Supreme Court justice and the court's plan to hear two cases on affirmative action in higher education later this year.

Shapiro deleted his tweets, but multiple people posted screenshots on Twitter, which prompted widespread condemnation, including from the dean of Georgetown Law, who called them appalling.

Shapiro issued an apology, writing in response to the Georgetown Law professor Aderson Francois: "I apologize. I meant no offense, but it was an inartful tweet. I have taken it down."

Shapiro's tweets came less than a week after Georgetown Law announced that he would join as an executive director and senior lecturer at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. His start date is February 1.

Shapiro works as a vice president at the conservative Cato Institute think tank.

The Cato Institute immediately responded to Insider's request for comment.

A Georgetown Law spokesperson told Insider they were "unable to comment on personnel matters," and they pointed to a statement from Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor that criticized Shapiro's tweets but did not say whether they would affect his role at the university.

"The tweets' suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling," Treanor said.

"The tweets are at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law and are damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion that Georgetown Law is building every day."

Biden announced Breyer's retirement on Thursday and confirmed that he would name a Black woman as the justice's successor. Here is a look at his possible shortlist.

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