An administrator at Georgetown University’s law school has been suspended from their position after claiming that President Joe Biden was not going to nominate “the objectively best pick” but a “lesser Black woman” for the Supreme Court.
Ilya Shapiro, a prominent libertarian who was the senior fellow in constitutional studies at Cato Institute and EIC of the Cato Supreme Court Review, made the claim in a now-deleted tweet.
“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan [chief judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who is solid prog & v smart,” he 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?”
Shapiro and his tweet were harshly criticized by his own colleagues.
“The tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling,” said Bill Treanor, the dean of Georgetown Law, in a message to students.
Shapiro ultimately apologized.
“A person’s dignity and worth simply do not, and should not, depend on race, gender, or any other immutable characteristic,” he said in a statement. “While it’s important that a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds be respected in the judiciary, so blatantly using identity politics in choosing Supreme Court justices is discrediting to a vital institution.”
Shapiro’s remarks echo similar ones from prominent Republicans, including Fox News personalities, who’ve complained that Biden is not selecting the best possible nominee. Last week, Geraldo Rivera suggested that Biden’s announcement that he would nominate a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court would be “affirmative action.”
“It’s interesting that it’s definitely affirmative action, right? As [the Supreme Court is] considering the affirmative action case against Harvard and University of North Carolina,” he said.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against the suggestion from Republicans that Biden’s pick would amount to “affirmative action,” noting that Republicans did not make this argument when former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump promised to nominate women.
“I would note that there is a long history here. President Reagan promised he would nominate the country’s first woman to serve on the court. He did so. Former President Trump also promised to choose a woman, just over a year ago,” she told the White House press pool.
“There were no such complaints from the voices on the right that are speaking out now,” she added. “But the President’s commitment is to deliver on the promise that was made to the country. But there is no question in his mind that there is a wealth of talented, qualified Black women to choose from.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.