I don’t agree with the idea conservative lawyer Ilya Shapiro expressed in January, when he objected to President Biden’s promise to appoint a Black woman to the first Supreme Court opening. (I wrote a column attacking his position.) But rather than simply refute his easily refutable arguments, Shapiro’s critics demanded he be fired by Georgetown, which had just hired him to teach at its law center…

Georgetown’s official policy pledges to safeguard the “free and open inquiry, deliberation and debate in all matters, and the untrammeled verbal and nonverbal expression of ideas.” Protesters depicted Shapiro’s [Supreme Court] tweets as causing damage so severe they could not tolerate his continued employment.

Georgetown’s solution was to evade the contradiction. It concluded its investigation by determining Shapiro could not be punished because he had not yet begun his job at Georgetown… [In effect, Georgetown’s policy allows] anybody to claim that ideas they find offensive have harmed or threatened them, and obligates the University to punish whoever has uttered them.


Both Chait and Shapiro (who has resigned from the law school in protest) mention wild and crrrraaaazy and in absolutely good standing G’town law professor Carol Christine Fair, the Johnny Depp of tweeters (Kavanaugh hearings: “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.”), as a rather, uh, decisive argument on their side, which reminded UD that she blogged about this self-same hothead not long ago on this here blog.

[Personnel at the Frankfurt Airport] told [Fair] her deodorant was basically a liquid and she couldn’t carry it on the plane. She freaked and called them nazis, which as you may know in Germany is not at all, legally speaking, a good idea. After she was hit up with a fine, she wrote an essay blaming it on sexism (German police do this to so many women at airports!), or on a young man with a nazi haircut nearby who upset her, or some such bullshit.

So a lefty Georgetown law professor can shit her untrammeled guts out all over the place (we won’t even mention her other high-profile YOU’RE A NAZI freakout against Richard Spencer, who is indeed a fascist, but the owners and patrons of the gym where Fair did her freakout were… upset… ) (Oh, and then there’s this.) and waltz right through institutional life, while a far more trammeled … righty … well …


Interesting post-script: Professor Fair, who knows on which side her bread is buttered, strongly supports Shapiro:

Professor Fair said she was one of only a few Georgetown faculty members who signed a petition supporting Mr. Shapiro after the ruckus about his posts. And she said that without knowing him, she did not think his tweet was racist, given that “he actually put forward a person of color.”

But student complaints are “the death knell,” she said.

“I am a fundamentally principled person,” she said. “I have no patience for cancel culture. None. And I don’t care who’s arguing for the cancellation.”

G’town’s Shapiro fiasco is the beginning of a process that will eventually also gobble up Carol Christine Fair, and she knows it.

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2 Responses to “Jonathan Chait on the Ilya Shapiro Dustup at Georgetown University”

  1. Stephen Karlson Says:

    Mr Shapiro has landed on his feet at the Manhattan Institute, which is an honest advocacy shop rather than a law school that’s pretending not to be an advocacy shop.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Stephen: Yes. Honest advocacy is better than the puling hypocrisy we’re seeing here.

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