Nearly 500 self-identified members of the literary community have signed a petition calling for the censorship of a new book by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett because of her ruling in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade.
According to the Guardian, the petition read, "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. As such, we are calling on Penguin Random House to recognise its own history and corporate responsibility commitments by reevaluating its decision to move forward with publishing supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett’s forthcoming book."
The petition, signed by many in the publishing and writing worlds, also read, "it is imperative that publishers uphold their dedication to freedom of speech with a duty of care."
The Daily Mail reports that employees at Random Penguin House also signed the letter. In 2021, Barrett signed a $2 million deal to pen the book with the company's imprint, Sentinel.
The petition also reads, "This is not just a book that we disagree with, and we are not calling for censorship. Many of us work daily with books we find disagreeable to our personal politics. Rather, this is a case where a corporation has privately funded the destruction of human rights with obscene profits."
Those who signed the letter argue that Coney's siding with the majority conservative justices in overturning Roe, and sending abortion legislation back to the states, was a violation of Random Penguin Houses Bertelsmann's Code of Conduct.
According to their website, Bertelsmann is an outside legal group that contracts with companies to devise Human Resources regulations that bind employees to "minimum standards for responsible behavior." Bertelsmann uses United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights to craft their rules and the UN's guidelines declare that abortion is a human right.
The content of Barrett's book is expected to revolve around the Supreme Court mandate that justices keep how they personally feel about a matter out of their rulings and instead focus on the law and interpreting the law as written.
"Yet, it seems this is exactly what Coney Barrett has done, inflicting 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 petition read.
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