An administrator at Georgetown University Law School who was criticized for saying that identity politics would lead President Biden to nominate a “lesser black woman” to the Supreme Court has resigned.
Ilya Shapiro, who was reinstated last week as a senior lecturer and executive director at the law school’s Center for the Constitution, stepped down from his role Monday over the fallout from the tweet in January.
He explained that he had only been cleared in the four-month investigation on a “technicality” since he wasn’t yet employed by Georgetown when he criticized the president for limiting his SCOTUS pool by race and sex.
“But after full consideration of the report I received later that afternoon from the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, or IDEAA, and on consultation with counsel and trusted advisers, I concluded that remaining in my job was untenable,” he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining his decision.
Shapiro had initially been placed on paid leave following the since-deleted tweet, which advocated for Biden to nominate federal Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan.
“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart,” Shapiro wrote in the tweet. “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?”
Despite being “cleared” and reinstated to his role, Shapiro accused the dean of the Georgetown University Law Center, William Treanor, in his resignation letter of setting him up for “discipline the next time I transgress progressive orthodoxy.”
“You told me when we met last week that you wanted me to be successful in my new role and that you will ‘have my back.’ But instead, you’ve painted a target on my back such that I could never do the job I was hired for, advancing the mission of the Center for the Constitution,” he wrote in the letter to Treanor.
Shapiro also detailed his position in the Wall Street Journal column, claiming Georgetown had “yielded to the progressive mob” while abandoning free speech and creating a hostile environment for him to work in in the aftermath.
“Although my tweet was inartful, as I’ve readily admitted many times, its meaning that I considered one possible candidate to be best and thus all others to be less qualified is clear,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter. “Only those acting in bad faith to get me fired because of my political beliefs would misconstrue what I said to suggest otherwise.”
Treanor said Thursday that Shapiro’s tweet was “antithetical” to the values at Georgetown Law, but hoped he would “embrace” principles of diversity and inclusiveness upon joining the staff.
“We have an equally compelling obligation to foster a campus community that is free from bias, and in which every member is treated with respect and courtesy,” Treanor said. “I am committed to continuing to strive toward both of these indispensable goals.”
In late January, Treanor said Shapiro’s assertion that a black woman could not be the best nominee was “appalling,” while noting his use of “demeaning” language. Georgetown’s Black Law Students Association also called for the incoming lecturer and administrator to be fired, the Washington Post reported.
Shapiro told the New York Times he felt he had little choice but to resign just days after being reinstated.
“I would have to constantly [be] walking on eggshells,” he told the newspaper, adding he had no plans to return to the classroom.
“Academia has become an intolerant place for anyone, not just conservatives but anyone who seeks the truth,” Shapiro said.
Nondiscrimination and antiharassment offices like Georgetown’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, which investigated Shapiro, are part of the problem, he said.
“It is one of the most pernicious parts of recent developments in academia where it’s kind of an Orwellian situation, where in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion, bureaucrats enforce an orthodoxy that stifles intellectual diversity,” Shapiro told the newspaper.
A Georgetown spokesperson pushed back on Shapiro’s characterization, the Washington Post reported.
The school “does not prohibit speech based on the person presenting ideas or the content of those ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable,” officials said in a statement.