The Cancel Mob Comes for Prominent Conservative Legal Analyst

Cato Institute

Ilya Shapiro, a much-respected legal analyst at the Cato Institue, was recently hired by the Georgetown Law School as executive director and senior lecturer at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. Shapiro has also written for the Federalist Society and other various conservative publications and has contributed to SCOTUSBlog.


But Shapiro ran afoul of the radical left mob by taking that job at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. The radical left zealously guards those prominent legal positions, so they had Shapiro in their sights from the get-go.

Shapiro gave them all the ammo they needed in a series of tweets on the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer and Biden’s pledge to name a black woman to the high court. Shapiro is a fierce foe of affirmative action and let Biden have it with both barrels.

New York Post:

“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid [progressive] and [very] smart,” Shapiro tweeted. “Even has identity politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into last intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?”

In a follow-up tweet, Shapiro wrote, “Because Biden said he’s only consider [sic] black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term.”


“Lesser black woman” was pounced on by the cancel culture mob as “nauseating” and “racist.” It was certainly an inelegant tweet, but anyone with two working brain cells knows what Shapiro was trying to say: that refusing to consider any other candidates — even minority candidates — was sacrificing merit for identity politics.

Related: Biden Should Nominate Stacey Abrams for SCOTUS — No Wait, Hear Me Out

National Review‘s Dan McLaughlin points out why Shapiro is right about recommending Sri Srinivasan over any black woman Biden will name.

Now, one may or may not agree that Sri Srinivasan would be the best possible candidate, but it is not an unreasonable point of view, and I do not doubt that it is a sincere one. Srinivasan certainly has a sparkling resume of the sort that Supreme Court nominees are regularly made of: he argued 25 Supreme Court cases as principal deputy solicitor general, lectured at Harvard Law School on Supreme Court and appellate advocacy, and has served on the D.C. Circuit for nine years. He is now the chief judge of that court, succeeding Merrick Garland. In 2016, we heard lots from liberals about how that job made Garland an ideal candidate. Nine years ago, Srinivasan was described by Jeffrey Toobin as Barack Obama’s “Supreme Court nominee in waiting,” and as Adam Serwer wrote at the time, “Srinivasan has more bipartisan legal muscle behind him than any other federal court nominee in recent memory. Legal elites of all political stripes consider him one of the best lawyers in the country.” Given that Srinivasan is also a member of an ethnic group and a religion (Hinduism) that have never been represented on the Court, it would seem imprudent for a Democratic president to rule him entirely out of consideration for no reason other than his race and gender. One would think that, in America, that sort of thing would be a fair criticism.


No, Srinivasan would not be the first, second, or any choice for associate Supreme Court justice for most conservatives. But he would certainly not be an “affirmative action hire,” and given that presidents have had the prerogative for 230 years to name their own Supreme Court picks, he would certainly be acceptable to most Democrats.

But Biden making race and gender his first criteria in choosing a Supreme Court justice rankles anyone who respects the law and the high court.

In a world where identity trumps merit, Shapiro ran afoul of the mob.

I would say that Mark Joseph Stern craves attention far more than Shapiro, who has earned attention thanks to his brilliant legal mind. Stern, on the other hand, is a lowly staff writer for the far-left rag Slate.

Who is it that “needs” attention more?


Stern has taken Shapiro’s inelegant tweet about “lesser black woman” and shot himself over the moon with it. And did Shapiro say anything about “lesser intellect”? Of course not. It’s a smear and a lie that has now led to Shapiro apologizing for not realizing how stupid his critics are.

The dean of Georgetown law school Bill Treanor called the tweets “appalling” and added to the misinformation campaign about what Shapiro’s tweets actually said.


“The tweets’ suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling,” wrote dean Bill Treanor in a message to the law school community about comments posted Wednesday by Ilya Shapiro.

Shapiro never wrote anything that implied that a black woman could not be a Supreme Court nominee, nor was the language even close to being “appalling.”

What’s appalling is people pretending that what Shapiro wrote could be construed as “racist.”


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