Barrett's Book Gets a Scathing Literary Reaction

In open letter, literati blast publisher, SCOTUS justice over 'fundamental human right' of abortion
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 9:15 AM CDT
Barrett's Book Gets a Scathing Literary Reaction
Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett joins other members of the Supreme Court as they pose for a new group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington on Oct. 7.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Not everyone is thrilled about Amy Coney Barrett's upcoming book, including a couple hundred literary notables who've signed a scathing open letter to her publisher. The Guardian reports on the letter—titled "We Dissent" and signed by close to 250 "members of the writing, publishing, and broader literary community"—in which the signees ask that Penguin Random House renege on its deal to publish the Supreme Court justice's tome. Although those who signed the letter note they believe in freedom of speech, they add, "We recognize that harm is done to a democracy not only in the form of censorship, but also in the form of assault on inalienable human rights."

And Barrett is guilty of such an assault, they say, due to her "yes" vote last June to overturn Roe v. Wade. The letter notes that "international human rights organizations widely recognize abortion access as a fundamental human right and have condemned the US Supreme Court's decision," and then turns the screws on Barrett and Penguin over the book, for which she reportedly received a $2 million advance. Barrett, the letter asserts, imposed "her own religious and moral agenda upon all Americans while appropriating the rhetoric of even-handedness—and Penguin Random House has agreed to pay her a sum of $2 million to do it."

The Guardian notes that Barrett is said to belong to People of Praise, a "secretive Catholic group." The choice Penguin must make, per the letter: "Barrett is free to say as she wishes, but Penguin Random House must decide whether to fund her position at the expense of human rights in order to inflate its bottom line." In short, the signees note: "We cannot stand idly by while our industry misuses free speech to destroy our rights." They're now inviting others in the writing and literary community to sign the letter as well, per Literary Hub. (More Amy Coney Barrett stories.)

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