In an unbridled attack on freedom of speech, hundreds of editors, writers, publishers, librarians and a wide variety of other individuals have signed an online petition demanding that Penguin Random House halt plans to publish a book by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The letter says that Coney Barrett inflicted “her own religious and moral agenda” upon the American public with her vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. “With the midterms coming up and the 2024 election looming,” they “decided it was time to make a statement.”
“We care deeply about freedom of speech,” the petition claims, arguing, “This is not just a book that we disagree with, and we are not calling for censorship. … Rather, this is a case where a corporation has privately funded the destruction of human rights with obscene profits.”
But that’s nonsense. Censorship is exactly what they’re calling for.
The online petition, which is updated with new signers every five minutes, had 723 signatures as of early Nov. 8, including editors and publishing figures from HarperCollins, Penguin Random House and university presses at Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, Columbia and Oxford.
It registers the special hatred and contempt by liberals for Coney Barrett, who is Catholic and the mother to seven children.
Pro-abortion groups have demonstrated at her home and church. One outfit, Ruth Sent Us, specifically noted in a Twitter posting the family’s schedule and the school her children attend. Their website tells protesters to go to a “local extremist church or fake abortion clinic. Commit civil disobedience. Be ungovernable.” Since the May 2 leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion holding Roe v. Wade unconstitutional, there have been at least 70 violent attacks on crisis pregnancy centers and 32 Catholic churches.
Among the left there are rising calls for politically motivated censorship and speech control. After Ted Glasser, a Stanford journalism professor, called for journalism to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice,” other like-minded writers jumped in. Wesley Lowery, who has worked as a national correspondent for the Washington Post, called objectivity “a failed experiment” that must be replaced with “moral clarity.”
The liberals and middle-class left believe the media should be reduced to political screeds to savage opinions they consider unacceptable on abortion rights, freedom to worship and other issues. They utterly ignore the fact Coney Barrett’s vote for the Dobbs decision was based on the U.S. Constitution, not her personal views.
The idea that constitutional freedoms of speech and the press need to be tossed aside and suppressed by “social justice” warriors is an attack on rights working people need and will seek to use increasingly in the future.
PEN America spoke out against the call to cancel the book. “If editors have concluded that a book by Coney Barrett — who is by definition a highly influential figure as a justice of the nation’s highest court — is of value to audiences, that decision should not be overturned at the behest of protesters who reject Coney Barrett’s views,” the group says in an Oct. 31 statement.
Penguin Random House says it is committed to publishing the book, now scheduled for 2024, despite the protests.