After President Biden reaffirmed his campaign pledge to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court following Justice Breyer’s retirement, blowback in response to the president’s decision to name a replacement based primarily on their gender and skin color was swift.
Among those who highlighted Biden’s problematic criteria — that is, putting identity politics before anything else — was Ilya Shapiro, recently hired as executive director of Georgetown University's Center for the Constitution. One of the few conservatives at Georgetown, Shapiro’s tweeted objections were quickly attacked by the woke crowd on campus and escalated by administrators who pounced on the opportunity to ding a conservative, no matter how disingenuous the screed. Students circulated a petition for his firing and the dean of the Georgetown University Law Center sent an all-school email condemning — and mischaracterizing — Shapiro’s objection.
But while the Georgetown’s woke squad may be triggered, not all students are on board with the torch-and-pitchfork brigade calling for Shapiro’s firing over a misunderstood sentiment that turns out to be shared by the majority of Americans.
Conservative & libertarian students oppose efforts by @GeorgetownLaw to end @ishapiro’s affiliation. The administration’s response has been to feed the mob. This is a test for the academy: Is it an instrument of cancel culture or an institution of learning? My statement here: pic.twitter.com/5lx5CRQ0zd— Luke Bunting (@Luke_Bunting) January 29, 2022
In a letter released Saturday afternoon, the Conservative and Libertarian Student Association (CALSA) at Georgetown made the stakes of the situation clear.
Noting Shapiro's "stellar reputation as a scholar, lawyer and communicator in law and public affairs," the letter signed by CALSA Co-President Luke Bunting acknowledges that the liberal-triggering tweet was "poorly worded."
"People misconstrued it—many of them willfully—to convey an offensive sentiment that was clearly not the intent or view of its author," the CALSA letter continues. "For his part, Shapiro responded to criticism by deleting the post, apologizing for how he phrased what is otherwise a much-levied critique of President Biden's announced nomination strategy, clarifying what he actually meant, and promising to do better. This is exactly how adults should react in these situations on social media, and a society built on open discourse should and must accept such apologies when they are genuine and the intent was clearly not to offend," Bunting adds.
As one of the few conservative members of Georgetown's faculty, it was not a question of "if" but "when" the fragile leftist ideologues who populate Georgetown would attempt to take down Ilya Shapiro. His reaction was measured, fair, and sincere — more than can be said for the outrage drummed up against him.
As Bunting's letter on behalf of conservative and libertarian students at Georgetown explains:
From its administrators down, the Georgetown Law community has failed to live up to this most basic standard of decency over the past 72 hours. First, Dean Treanor sent a school-wide email mischaracterizing the intended message of the tweets to such an extent that the only logical takeaway for students was that Ilya Shapiro is a bigot. The Dean knew this was not the case when he sent his email, and that fact can only be clearer to him now that many of Shapiro's former colleagues have reached out to repudiate any such claim.
Second, students responded to the Dean's irresponsible email in an entirely predictable manner: demanding Shapiro's ouster and targeting conservative students with public personal attacks. Accusations of supporting the Confederacy, racism, and privilege took over class group chats, ending with conservatives being kicked out of both those group chats and school affinity groups by the students who control them. The school administration's actions and language have consequences for the health of discourse at the school, and the administration has done real damage to it this week.
Shapiro and the students represented by CALSA at Georgetown found themselves subject to the same kind of attack that Biden himself lobbed at members of Congress as they considered whether or not to nuke the Senate's legislative filibuster to force through Democrats' federal takeover of elections: oppose me, and you're in the same camp as the president of the Confederacy. Just as Biden's bullying failed to swing support for his and congressional Democrats' power-grab, so too is Biden's attempt to sell his plan for nominating a Supreme Court justice backfiring.
Unsurprisingly, Georgetown's supposedly-elite administrators and President Biden are out-of-touch with what most Americans want and how they feel about Biden's pledge to nominate a replacement for Justice Breyer based first on their race and gender. Not just most, but more than three-quarters of Americans — according to a new poll from ABC News — want Biden to consider "all possible nominees" to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, not just those who check certain boxes.
BREAKING: Just over three-quarters of Americans (76%) want Pres. Biden to consider "all possible nominees," while 23% want him to follow through on his commitment to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, per a new @ABC News/Ipsos poll. https://t.co/FHLGrgJg9Z— ABC News (@ABC) January 30, 2022
"Contrary to its claim, the petition calling for Shapiro's removal does not speak for the entire Georgetown University Law Center study body," CALSA's letter points out. "If the school gives in to mob rule and heeds the ridiculous calls to fire him, it will have endorsed the kind of reprehensible character assassination that is plaguing modern society and the academy in particular. The school will have also ignored the undeniable reality that Ilya Shapiro is not a racist. Should the school end its relationship with Mr. Shapiro, expect a strong response from the conservative and libertarian students on campus who are increasingly questioning whether they are welcome at Georgetown Law and are getting tired of GULC's double-standard in handling offensive out-of-class statements made by faculty."