For those following the Mann vs Steyn upcoming trial of the century, yesterday Dr Mann filed a motion to dismiss with prejudice my counterclaims against him. The reaction from the experts has been swift and merciless. Left and right, academics and attorneys, all agree that Steyn has flown the shark, jumped the coop.
The "Peanuts" cartoon at right provided Professor Eli Rabett with his headline: "All of a Sudden the World Famous Attorney May Realize He Is In Over His Head." Very droll. But let's start with the dullard Mann-child over at Climate Science Watch:
In the Michael Mann v. National Review et al. defamation lawsuit, Mann has filed a "Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims of Counter-Plaintiff Mark Steyn Pursuant to the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act". A memorandum in support of Mann's motion says: "Steyn's counterclaims lack any merit whatsoever, and his assertion of these claims in the face of the Court's previous rulings is yet another manifestation of his disdain for this Court and its processes. ... not to mention the stream of invective that he has hurled at this Court..."
Can one hurl a stream? Ah, well:
Mann's filing of this motion is understandable.
- although the anonymous Mann-child doesn't appear to understand it. Ken White, on the other hand, is an actual lawyer. Over at Popehat, he's fighting the temptation to rename the site Gloat-hat:
Last month I critiqued Mark Steyn's counter-claims against Michael Mann in Mann's defamation suit, and predicted that Steyn may have subjected himself to an anti-SLAPP motion.
Do not misconstrue this as bragging that I was particularly insightful or clever. I wasn't. This was a consequence of Steyn's counterclaims that anyone reasonably acquainted with First Amendment law and anti-SLAPP statutes predicted.
Steyn's complaint seems to be that the anti-SLAPP statute hasn't protected him effectively even though his speech is protected by the First Amendment, that even with the statute the litigation has been lengthy and extremely expensive, and that the system is broken. I believe all those things are true. But I don't see that Steyn's approach of going pro se, railing against the court, and raising questionable claims is one that is rationally calculated to produce a better result.
On the other hand, despite the hideous twisted wreckage, Professor Rabett can't resist rubbernecking:
It is a bit cruel watching someone demonstrate how unclear on the concept he is as Mark Steyn, but what the hey... Eli and the bunnies have quite enjoyed Steyn's full bore crazy act. Almost as good as Richard Tol on Frank Ackerman, but there are other styles and Mann's lawyers prefer the drier way.
~By the way, I was rereading, as one does, the careless hack Natalia Combs Greene's slapdash July 19th ruling - the one in which she mixed up the defendants throughout:
Also in 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") investigated Plaintiff as a result of constant pressure from Defendant The National Review, Defendant Steyn (collectively the "NR Defendants") and others. (Pl. Mtn at 22.) The EPA concluded there was "no evidence of scientific misconduct." Id.
Actually, no. That was not me and NR that "constantly" "pressured" the EPA, but CEI. At any rate, Combs Greene's crappy ruling set great stock on the authority of the EPA, to the point where she seems to believe that, if the EPA so pronounces, the rest of us should just shut up.
So I was interested to read in The Washingtonian this account of the career of John Beale, "a towering figure within the agency" and winner of the "EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service—its highest honor", who was also a covert agent for the CIA.
Except he wasn't. For years, he claimed to be jetting overseas to rescue fellow agents in Pakistan and whatnot, when in reality he was at home in Arlington with his feet up, bunking off from the office. And yet for a decade no one at the EPA thought to call him on it. He's currently serving 32 months in jail.
I don't know whether Mr Beale was involved in "exonerating" Dr Mann, but getting a fake CIA agent to investigate a fake Nobel Laureate does have a certain appealing symmetry to it. If nothing else, it suggests that the lazy Combs Greene's touching faith in the keen eye of the EPA is not entirely warranted.
~If, like Professor Rabett et al, you too are enjoying "Steyn's full-bore crazy act", why not consider supporting it via our soon-to-be-collectors'-items Steyn vs the Stick merchandise or our SteynOnline gift certificates? The full-frothing-loon act's harder to keep up than you might imagine.