UPDATE: The Rabett Run website returns to consider the Mann vs Steyn case and claims to detect, from my recent writing, "an undertone of something less than confidence in the trial outcome".
B R Bickmore dissents from the analysis below and thinks that Dr Mann is cruising to victory:
Yea, Michael Mann hath prevailed upon the court to allow his defamation suit to go forward. And there was weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (The Apocalypse of Barry 62:3)
No weeping or wailing here. I'm picking out ties for the trial.
Further to my thoughts below, Benjamin Weingarten over at The Blaze has a fine summary of what's at stake:
And for however much the sticks and stones thrown at Mann may have harmed him, one would be hard-pressed to argue that the punishment of sitting through over a year of litigation that went nowhere, replete with thousands of hours wasted and hundreds of thousands of dollars sunk is far worse...
Steyn and his co-defendants, and society as a whole have already effectively lost.
That's why it is now necessary to bring this thing to trial and for Dr Mann to lose, and be seen to lose. If he gets away with just another case in which he threatens somebody and runs up their legal bills but is never actually forced to court and on to the stand, he will do it again, and again. The real threat is to his fellow scientists who are already queasy about his work but see what happens when, like Judith Curry, you question this insecure bully in public. They will remain silent, and vote for a quiet life.
So Dr Mann has to lose big. And I look forward to helping make that happen.
I'm very grateful and, in fact, rather taken aback by those of you around the world - in the British Isles, Scandinavia, the Balkans, the Indian sub-continent - who've taken up our invitation to support my legal defense by buying one of our new SteynOnline gift certificates. I promise you your generosity won't be wasted.
Free speech is under threat not just in America but around the western world. In Canada, the Free Dominion website (as the name suggests, it's a kind of maple-flavored Free Republic) has in effect just been put out of business by an Ontario judge:
Today, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith issued an order in the Richard Warman vs Mark and Connie Fournier and John Does defamation case heard September, 2013. In addition to ordering that we must pay Warman $127,000, Justice Smith issued an injunction against us ordering we that never publish, or allow to be published, anything negative about Richard Warman.
Like Dr Michael Mann, who's currently in court in British Columbia, the District of Columbia and (for all I know) Colombia, Richard Warman is a serial SLAPPer. In fairness to my nemesis, Mann at least sues to inject a little court-ordered Viagra into his ever more flaccid hockey stick. Warman, on the other hand, sues merely for fun and profit, as an extension of his role as Canada's self-appointed Hatefinder-General. As eventually emerged at a Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal hearing, he adopts Internet disguises and posts as a "hatemonger" on so-called "hate sites", and then sues those sites. Very foolishly, the Canadian courts have rewarded him for playing dress-up Nazi. I met Mark and Connie Fournier in Ottawa at the CHRT "secret trial" that Maclean's QC Julian Porter and I succeeded in getting opened up and revealed to public gaze. They're brave and tenacious fighters of a kind Canada needs more of, but professional SLAPPer Richard Warman has done them in:
This means we are barred for life from ever operating a public forum or a blog (even about cookie recipes) where the public can comment. If we do so, any one of Warman's handful of supporters could, and probably would, use a common proxy server to avoid being traced, plant a negative comment about Warman on our site, and we would both be charged with contempt of court... This life sentence was imposed for our terrible crimes of voicing our honestly held beliefs and allowing others to do the same. Defamation law, in its current state, is entirely inadequate and counterproductive when applied to the internet. Now it is being used as a tool of censorship.
Once you're in the hell of the US "justice" system, everything else sounds like chump change. The $127,000 the Fourniers owe for being convicted is less than than a quarter of the half-million-plus National Review's lawyers burned through on pointless procedural warm-ups before any trial has even been scheduled. Nevertheless, it's huge in Canadian terms - and, if you can help, Mark and Connie out, they sure could use it. They were an important part of the successful fight to repeal Section 13 and in effect fire Warman from his "human rights" cash cow. You can donate to Free Dominion here.
~ I am very confident and optimistic about my chances against Michael Mann. Others are a bit gloomier. Down Under, Steve Kates writes:
It's only a minor thing in the face of all of the other repressive activities in the US, but Mark Steyn's travails within the court system, after having been sued by Michael Mann over his hockey stick, is quite significant in its own way, possibly more so because Mark is one of the few who is willing and able to fight back.
By "other repressive activities", I think Mr Kates means that the United States Government is corrupt. The IRS is corrupt, the EPA is corrupt, the Department of Justice is corrupt. They use their powers selectively to chastise their political enemies. In a hyper-regulatory state, there are laws against everything, and everyone is guilty of being in breach of at least 300 of them at any hour of the day. I have no use for Dinesh D'Souza, for example, but it seems obvious that he's been set up as this season's Benghazi video maker. There are gazillions of $20,000 campaign-finance infractions across America, but the only guy that's been singled out is the fellow who made a hit anti-Obama movie. As John Hayward puts it, he's been
...busted for doing 59 in a 55-mph campaign-finance zone in your little compact car, while huge semi trucks full of political cash blast past you at a hundred miles an hour without the cops batting an eye.
D'Souza's enemies are gloating. As is the habit in the American system, he will most likely be prevailed upon to cop a plea in return for a reduced sentence. And everyone else will get the message: If you make a film or write a book attacking Obama, make sure it's a flop - or anyway not so big a hit it catches the regime's eye.
~ Meanwhile, my friend Scaramouche comments on my case, and notes the difference between the American courts in real life and the flattering image of telly drama like "The Good Wife".*
~ On that note, I promise my many kind supporters I will not let you down, I won't be settling, and the denouement will be way better than "The Good Wife". It's time for Michael Mann and the sclerotic DC courts to bring it on or bugger off. Those SteynOnline gift certificates can be purchased here, and are valid forever.
(*Alan Cumming, star of "The Good Wife", is a former dancing partner of mine. Many years ago, at the first night of Cabaret at the Donmar in London, he called me up on stage at the start of the Second Act to dance with him. He was wearing leather pants with cutaway buttocks and insisted he lead, but I'm a game sort and acquitted myself so impressively that Michael Coveney gave me a rave in The Observer - "The boy done well.")