Today, a decision is expected from the Virginia Supreme Court re "hockey stick" climate alarmist Michael E Mann's continued attempts to obstruct access to his data. A bunch of big media - NPR, The Washington Post et al - have filed briefs opposing Mann and the University of Virginia because they understand that a victory for him would be a massive defeat for freedom of information that would more or less gut the law in that state.
Likewise, were he to prevail in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century at the DC Superior Court, it would be the biggest setback for the First Amendment in the half-century since New York Times vs Sullivan. Michael Mann is the embodiment of the hyper-politicized transnational alarmism movement that has done so much damage over the last decade and a half. More or less random headline that nevertheless sums it up:
World's top climate scientists told to 'cover up' the fact that the Earth's temperature hasn't risen for the last 15 years
That's the world Mann has made, a world where the warming "pause" now going on for almost two decades has to be eighty-sixed because it doesn't serve the alarmist agenda.
I'm proud to say that I have Dan Kornstein, the man behind the single most important free-speech legislation this century, as my lawyer on this case. We're mounting a big-picture First Amendment pushback against Michael Mann, a thuggish enforcer whose only response to critics on at least three continents is to demand that they be silenced, banned or fired. It's enormously consuming of time and money, and I want to thank all those from Manhattan and Moose Jaw to Dublin and Delhi all the way to pinpricks of empire like Vanuatu and the Falkland Islands who've swung by the Steyn store to help support us by buying my free-speech book or our collector's-item Steyn vs the Stick merchandise. I'm enormously grateful. Whatever happens in the Virginia case, I can assure you we will win one for free speech in the DC courts.
Following Ezra Marsh's befuddlement at the news that "Defendant Steyn opted not to appeal the denial of the motions to dismiss the amended complaint", some readers have asked for a precis of where the case is and how it got there. Okay. Previously on CSI District of Columbia:
Two years ago, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, former FBI Director Louis Freeh published a damning report on the Penn State administration's complicity in serial child rape. CEI's Rand Simberg wrote a post comparing Penn State's cover up for Sandusky with their cover up for climate scientist Michael E Mann after the leak of the "Climategate" emails. At National Review, I quoted Simberg and called Dr Mann "the man behind the fraudulent climate-change 'hockey-stick' graph".
Shortly thereafter Mann sued me, National Review, Simberg and CEI for the hitherto unknown crime of "defamation of a Nobel prize recipient".
Dr Mann is not a Nobel Prize recipient, and I am not a defamer. I believe his "hockey stick" is fraudulent as his self-conferred Nobel Prize, and I've said so around the world ever since the turn of the century when the IPCC and Al Gore made it the great iconic image of transnational climate alarmism. But apparently you can't say it in America.
So off we went to the DC Superior Court and here we are two years later with no end in sight. In his latest ruling, our latest judge, Judge Weisberg, conceded that there had been "too much procedural delay" - which is a polite way of saying that in her year on the case his appallingly careless and slapdash predecessor, Judge Natalia Combs Greene, made a pig's ear of almost everything she touched. I could explain it all, but it makes my ears bleed.
Mann's Big Tobacco lawyers rest their case on his claim that he has been "exonerated" by (at last count) nine transatlantic bodies. The lazy Combs Greene swallowed this argument. But the bodies he cites - NOAA, the University of East Anglia, the British House of Commons - not only did not "exonerate him", they never investigated him. The multiple transatlantic exonerations are as non-existent as Mann's Nobel Prize. That's why I called him (for Clinton-era nostalgics) the M Larry Lawrence of climate scientists: Michael E Mann is a Nobel Laureate who was exonerated by the British Government in the same sense that M Larry Lawrence was a vice-chair of the Nobel Prize nominating committee who was torpedoed off Murmansk.
In fact, Mann has only been investigated by one institution: Penn State - ie, by Graham Spanier, the only college president in America currently facing 30 years in the slammer on charges of obstruction of justice, and his fellow Sandusky enablers among the senior administration. No wonder Mann would rather invent alternative exonerations.
Mann has played fast and loose with the facts for years. Which is why so few of his fellow scientists are anxious to defend him, and why even the IPCC has climbed off the hockey stick. Nevertheless, his acolytes in a gullible, ideological media have tended to fall for his industrial-scale self-promotion campaign, and see him as an heroic figure. Consider Mann-child Richard Schiffman in The Guardian:
Harassment of climate scientists needs to stop
Climate change denialists are suing scientists...
This too is false. At the time of publication, no "denialist" was suing Michael Mann. But he's suing everybody. He's the plaintiff - the guy who does the suing. In the District of Columbia, he's suing me. In British Columbia, he's suing Dr Tim Ball. And in Virginia, in a case he wasn't even a party to, he somehow managed to insert his stick and wind up as co-plaintiff before the Supreme Court. He's a serial litigant.
So, given that a serial litigant was going around claiming that he's the guy being sued, I thought it was time he was. So I've countersued him. Anyone familiar with the way Mann has stalled and concealed and obfuscated over the release of his data will not be surprised to hear that his current court posture is that his discovery against me should proceed but my discovery against him should be be put on hold.
And that's where we are. This case is about the right of a free society to engage in robust debate on public policy. Because Dr Mann cannot withstand that level of scrutiny, he demands the courts protect him from it. He will not succeed.
Mann has, at last count, four white-shoe lawyers on the payroll (one quit last week) in DC, plus his Canadian lawyers in Vancouver and whoever's handling things in Virginia, all funded by some ideological "climate defense fund" or some such. If you'd like to help our pushback against Big Climate, we've brought back the SteynOnline gift certificate, which we usually only offer during the Christmas season. It makes a great present for any Steyn fan in your family - and it's an easy way to support us without filling your basement up with copies of my disco CD. Instead, you can buy a gift certificate for yourself (starting at $25). If you want to give us the "full legal bang for the buck" (as one reader puts it) and sit on your unredeemed certificate for a decade or two, that's great: They never expire so, if circa 2040, you have a sudden yen for a couple of crates' worth of SteynOnline mugs, you'll still be able to load up. If you want to redeem part of it for a book and let SteynOnline keep the change, that works, too. If you want to hold on to it until my new book comes out later this year or until Christmas season cranks up, that's also a good idea.
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