RNLA Stands in Support of Ilya Shapiro

The Republican National Lawyers Association supports Ilya Shapiro, a respected colleague who has become the latest target of a smear campaign from the left.

After Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Joe Biden reaffirmed his campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the Court. In response, Mr. Shapiro sent out a poorly-worded tweet that liberal activists seized upon to imperil his employment. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Greg Lukianoff and Adam Goldstein explained in The Washington Post:

Ilya Shapiro, recently tapped to be executive director of the Center for the Constitution at Georgetown University’s law school, turned to Twitter to express his disagreement. After identifying D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan as the “best pick,” Shapiro tweeted that Srinivasan “doesn’t fit into the latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman” and that Biden’s nominee “will always have an asterisk attached.”

The tweets generated a storm of criticism, including many claims that Shapiro is racist (an odd argument, given that he was advocating the appointment of an Indian American to the Supreme Court). Nevertheless, Shapiro deleted the offending tweets and posted an apology, which began: “I regret my poor choice of words, which undermined my message that nobody should be discriminated against for his or her skin color.”

Mr. Shapiro’s sincere apology to Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor and the student body did little to appease calls for his firing from a strident online and campus mob. Mr. Shapiro has been placed on administrative leave from his position at Georgetown Law pending Georgetown’s “investigation” into his tweets.

As liberal journalist Bari Weiss wrote, sincere apologies apparently no longer mean much to the new left:

But apologies and contrition are no longer enough, it seems. On Friday, the Black Law Students Association, speaking on behalf of a dozen student groups, wrote to insist that the school rescind Shapiro’s job offer among many other demands. That’s because these days, sincere apologies do not function as expressions of regret but as confessions of guilt.

On Tuesday, Dean Treanor and other administrators held a meeting with the student protestors where he seemed open to demands for “reparations” for Black students including a place for students to cry over Shapiro’s hiring. Dean Treanor even offered to reimburse students for food they ordered to the sit-in.

The irony is glaring. There are at least two Georgetown professors in recent years who made purposefully terrible tweets that were defended by Georgetown.

The first is Professor Carol Christine Fair who sent out the following tweet in 2018 about U.S. Senators who supported the nomination of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court:

Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement.

All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.

Fair declined to apologize for the tweet. She remains at Georgetown.

In 2020, a Georgetown Law professor posted tweets that arguably violated the university’s nondiscrimination policy with no record of any action being taken against her:

In 2020, Georgetown Law professor Heidi Li Feldman tweeted that "law professors and law school deans" should "not support applications from our students to clerk for" judges appointed by Donald Trump. "To work for such a judge indelibly marks a lawyer as lacking in the character and judgment necessary for the practice of law," Feldman said. The tweets appear to violate Georgetown’s non-discrimination policies—and Washington, D.C.'s—which prohibit "discrimination and harassment" based on "political affiliation."

No comped pizza or cry-ins were hosted by Georgetown in response to either of the two incidents noted above. While poorly worded, Mr. Shapiro’s tweet falls well within mainstream commentary critical of the base racial and gender profiling President Biden has deployed in his Supreme Court nomination quest, unlike the tweets of professors that Georgetown has previously defended. According to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 76% of Americans want President Biden to consider “all possible nominees” to replace Justice Breyer on the Supreme Court regardless of race (or any other characteristic for that matter).

RNLA this week invited Mr. Shapiro to be the featured author at our 36th annual National Policy Conference on April 1, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia for his book Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America's Highest Court. (You can register to attend here.)

RNLA Chair Harmeet Dhillon said:

In seeking to sacrifice Ilya Shapiro on the altar of woke supremacy, today’s liberals bear little resemblance to traditions of liberality, curiosity, and tolerance that once were the hallmarks of American academia. The modern left seeks to silence dissenting voices, rather than protect them. Georgetown University has a chance to buck the trend of campus intolerance and divisiveness by accepting Mr. Shapiro’s heartfelt apology and moving forward as a community.

We hope you will join us in supporting Mr. Shapiro. You can write to Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor to show your support at [email protected].