Georgetown suspends law professor over 'lesser' Black woman tweets


Students are seen on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington March 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Georgetown University's law school placed a newly hired professor on administrative leave after the academic criticized President Joe Biden's promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, tweeting that the pledge would lead to a "lesser" pick of nominee as compared to other possible candidates.

Ilya Shapiro, a libertarian, had been scheduled to be a senior lecturer at the law school and the executive director of its Center for the Constitution. On Jan. 26, Shapiro tweeted that the "best pick" for the Supreme Court nomination would be Sri Srinivasan, an Indian-American currently serving as the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Shapiro said a nomination for Srinivasan "doesn't fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy, so we'll get lesser black woman."

The law professor finished the tweet, which has now been deleted from his account, with: "Thank heaven for small favors?"

William Treanor, dean and executive vice president of the Georgetown University Law Center, announced Shapiro's being placed on leave in a Jan. 31 letter to the law school community. 

Shapiro has since tweeted an apology, stating: "I regret my poor choice of words, which undermine my message that no one should be discriminated against for his or her gender or skin color."

Georgetown's Black Law Students Association has demanded the revocation of Shapiro's employment contract entirely. The association said Shapiro issued an apology "after students, professors and media denounced him."

Melissa Cedillo

Melissa Cedillo is NCR's Latino Catholics Project fellow. Her email address is

Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here