Pen America Rejects Calls to Cancel New Book by Justice Amy Coney Barrett

From Pen America:

PEN America issued the following statement in response to calls for Penguin Random House to cancel a book by Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett:

“PEN America rejects calls for the cancellation of a planned book by Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We have serious concerns regarding the increasingly ideological orientation of the Supreme Court and the risk it poses to the rule of law and the sanctity of the American legal system, bedrocks that underpin the protection of free expression and human rights. But 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. It is the role of major publishers to make available a wide array of ideas and perspectives. In so doing, they afford readers, critics, historians, and journalists insight that can help elucidate truths, expose falsehoods, and deepen our understanding of consequential individuals and events. The decision to publish a book should not be construed as an endorsement of the views of the author or subject. Editors should play a role in raising tough questions in preparing a book for publication to ensure that work serves the public interest in terms of thoroughness and veracity.”

Link to the rest at Pen America

PG says for once, cancel culture gets slapped across the wrist. It’s nice to see some adults in the room for a change.

15 thoughts on “Pen America Rejects Calls to Cancel New Book by Justice Amy Coney Barrett”

  1. I like how they’re concerned about the “increasingly ideological orientation” of the current SCOTUS.
    One wonders if they were as concerned, or concerned at all, when SCOTUS was giving us such legal travesties as Kelo v. New London

    • SCOTUS always has an ideological orientation of some sort or another.

      Individual justices come onto the court with views concerning various and sundry legal issues. Some continue to hold those views. More than a few evolve their views over time into something different.

      An occasional justice behaves differently after she/he is elevated and aggravates the President who sponsored their nomination. FDR was very upset with early decisions of the Supreme Court concerning various of his New Deal laws.

      The courts are supposed to be a check on legislative and executive overreach. That’s the way the Constitution was designed. No single branch of government is supposed to be able to do whatever it wants whenever it wants without relying on the approval of the other two.

      The power of the executive and legislative branches typically conflicts or intersects relatively quickly to create and approve a law (or, more commonly, a group of laws). Once the President signs a bill approved by the House and Senate, that bill immediately becomes law.

      99% of the time, if someone feels the law is wrong and he/she/they/it have been harmed by the law and there is a constitutional defect in it, a much slower judicial process begins, usually with the federal district court, a trial court, which often takes multiple years to try a case before coming to a decision, continuing on to the Federal Courts of Appeal, where the majority of appeals end, and ending with the Supreme Court.

      If the House and Senate act swiftly and the President signs a bill into law, we’re talking about a matter of weeks or a few months in most cases. The judicial appellate process counts time in years with only a tiny number of exceptions.

      By the time the Supreme Court gets a case, an enormous amount of discussion and debate has taken place in the general public, among elected officials and by various bar associations or other groups of lawyers. In addition to the filings and briefs by the parties directly involved in the dispute that generated a Constitutional question, the Supreme Court may Amicus Curiae briefs (translated from Latin as “friend of the court.”) from a wide range of organizations and individuals who have an interest in the outcome of the matter before the Supreme Court.

      I don’t hesitate to say that the Supreme Court has much more legal/constitutional information about the issues in cases it hears than either the legislative or executive had when they created the law in the first place.

      Again, that’s the way the Constitution was created.

      The legislative and executive can act very quickly to create a law. Typically, the Federal courts will allow the law to continue to be enforced during the period necessary for a hearing on the merits of the constitutional objections and, sometimes, the appeal.

      The courts take more time to consider the matter and let the heat of the moment in which a law may have been passed to cool before determining constitutional issues.

      • One change I would like to see is an Amendment banning omnibus bills.
        Let each check digndd and initiative launched be voted on individually.
        Not going to happen but it would fix a lot of ills bedeviling the republic.
        (Bridges to nowhere, secret favors tofriends of the parties, etc.)

        • My immigration solution. End all immigration. Shut it down. Forget about comprehensive solutions to anything.

          Bad idea? Think XYZ should be allowed immigration status? OK. Introduce a bill about XYZ and specifically show how it is in the best interests of US citizens. Then pass it.

          Then move on to ABC…

            • I have always found it interesting that the thousands of Irish who came to the US in the early 1800s to dig the canals, did indeed do a lot of digging, and then got back on the boat and went back to Ireland.

          • That’s a moronic idea. Einstein and Szilard, who’s urging convinced FDR to create the Manhattan Project, were both European immigrants.

            • I believe the legal term today would be “refugees” given what the painter’s crew was up to. 😉

              (But I agree throwing out the baby with the bathwater won’t be useful.)


              In europe they face a quandary over russian…travellers…
              Young, educated, tech savvy.
              Would be an asset to their declining workforce.
              But they only found the war objectionable when their own necks were at risk. They might make common cause with the “wrong” crowd.

              Kazakstan, Georgia, and Mongolia have similar concerns over tbeir own hordes of border crossers given the excuses floated by today’s warlord.

              Migration is a global issue these days because it comes with both upsides and downsides. Not clearcut and closed borders are an easy kneejerk reaction.

            • And I expect their modern versions would be covered by XYZ.

              Perhaps the more enlightened can explain to the morons why millions of illegals have to cross the southern border so we can have the next Einstein?

              Tuesday will be great fun. Let’s see how much mischief the morons can do.

  2. I think it was ill-considered for Justice Barrett to “write” this book, right now, for commercial publication. But it is what it is; it’s not a violation of the (incredibly lax) ethics rules that apply to the Supreme Court, and we’re not talking about something purportedly emanating from mythical Elders of Zi0n and actually written by the Tsarist secret police. (Being somewhat eliptical to keep certain search engines from triggering on this.)

    But that it was ill-considered does not justify suppression in the suggested fashion. This is distinct from the Josh Hawley situation of a couple of years ago (which was handled badly by everyone involved, but that’s for another time).

    • The contract was signed over a year ago and the book wrigten last year.
      That it is coming out now it due to tradpub’s super fast pipeline.

    • These days, C.E., is there ever going to be a “good” time for a SCOTUS Justice to have a book published? No matter which one, there is a guarantee that heads of the opposite polarity are going to explode.

      • Not an easy question. Off the cuff:

        • If it’s on US law or US history, after retirement. Period. That’s beyond what the pathetic system calls for now… but it avoids too many problems to do otherwise.

        • If it’s purely (or close to purely) autobiographical, that’s hard and I am delegating to someone else. At minimum, any autobiographical piece that touches on issues likely to come before the court (either for the first time or again) seems dubious while the writer is on the Court.

        • If it’s entirely secondary — not-quite-so-hypothetically, Nino & Ruth’s Guide to Gilbert and Sullivan’s Operettas — go for it. Yes, there’s a possibility that some of it might presage something likely to end up in front of the Court (such as the extent of “what is ‘originality,’ anyway?”), but that’s at least as probable and problematic as sitting Justices teaching legal seminars.

        You’ll notice that these are standards and not rules; there isn’t an unambiguous rule that can be written that won’t be both twistable and inadequate, not to mention exception-ridden at its boundaries. And too often, right down the middle.

    • I don’t know what the situation with Justice Barrett is, but it’s not unusual for federal appellate judges to donate the proceeds they receive from their books to charity.

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