Georgetown University: Calls to Rescind Incoming Lecturer's Appointment Over Tweets on Successor to Justice Breyer | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Georgetown University: Calls to Rescind Incoming Lecturer's Appointment Over Tweets on Successor to Justice Breyer

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory

On January 21, 2022, Georgetown University Law Center announced Ilya Shapiro as the Senior Lecturer and Executive Director for the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. On January 26, 2022, in the wake of Justice Breyer’s announcement that he would retire, Shapiro posted tweets about potential replacements for Justice Breyer that some found offensive. The tweets drew condemnation from Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor and calls to rescind Shapiro’s employment contract. 

FIRE wrote Georgetown’s leadership on January 30, reminding them the university has promised to “all members of the University community” the “broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn,” even when that speech is “thought by some or even most of the community” to be “offensive, unwise, immoral, or ill conceived.” On January 31, Shapiro was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Georgetown finally reinstated him on June 2 after a 122-day investigation, determining that the law school couldn’t punish him for a tweet he posted before the start of his employment. Shapiro resigned on June 6.