Ilya Shapiro Previously Said Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court Pick Was 'Not Based on Merit'

The dean of Georgetown University Law Center on Thursday criticized an incoming faculty member over his social media posts that questioned President Joe Biden's promise to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ilya Shapiro, currently the vice president and director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, is due to begin as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution on February 1.

He came under fire on Wednesday over his remarks on the president's potential pick for the Supreme Court, as news broke that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring at the end of his current term.

Shapiro also previously decried former President Barack Obama's U.S. Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor, suggesting that she would not have been chosen if it weren't for her race.

"Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan, who is solid prog & v smart. Even has identify politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American," Shapiro wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

But Srinivasan "doesn't fit into latest intersectional hierarchy so we'll get [a] lesser black woman," he wrote.

The tweet has since been deleted.

In another now-deleted tweet, Shapiro said that because president has promised to nominate a Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, "his nominee will always have an asterisk attached."

"Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term," he wrote.

Georgetown University Law Center's dean, Bill Treanor, addressed Shapiro's remarks in a statement to Law.com.

"The tweets' suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling," Treanor said Thursday. "The tweets are at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law and are damaging to the culture of equity and inclusion that Georgetown Law is building every day."

Shapiro has since apologized for his remarks. "I apologize. I meant no offense, but it was an inartful tweet. I have taken it down," he wrote on Twitter.

It's not the first time Shapiro has made controversial remarks about a High Court nomination.

"In picking Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has confirmed that identity politics matter to him more than merit," he wrote in a CNN column titled "Sotomayor pick not based on merit" in 2009.

He suggested that her race was why she was considered.

"While Judge Sotomayor exemplifies the American Dream, she would not have even been on the short list if she were not Hispanic," he wrote.

"She is not one of the leading lights of the federal judiciary, and far less qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court than Judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland or Solicitor General Elena Kagan."

Newsweek has reached out to Georgetown University Law Center for additional comment.

Ilya Shapiro and Sonia Sotomayor
Ilya Shapiro previously said former President Barack Obama's SCOTUS pick Sonia Sotomayor Supreme was not "based on merit." Cato Institute / Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images