Breaking news in the Mann vs Steyn global-warming hockey-stick case! Santa has come early and left a lump of coal in my stocking:
Almost three years ago, my sometime colleagues at National Review and my co-defendants at the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed an interlocutory appeal to determine, inter alia, whether the new anti-SLAPP law was interlocutorily appealable. Fascinating stuff.
I was not a party to the appeal, mainly because I'd concluded - after spending the autumn of 2013 listening to two trial judges issuing competing rulings on the same case - that the DC courts were a proceduralist swamp and we might as well move straight to trial. That view of DC's dysfunction was subsequently confirmed by the lethargy of the Court of Appeals. A month before the appeal's third anniversary, the court has now issued a very belated ruling as a Christmas Eve news dump. You can read the full order here.
The takeaway is that Mann's suit against National Review editor (and my old boss) Rich Lowry has been dismissed, but those against me and Rand Simberg will proceed:
Dr. Mann has supplied sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that statements in the articles written by Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn were false, defamatory, and published by appellants to third parties, and, by clear and convincing evidence, that appellants did so with actual malice.
You won't be surprised to hear that I disagree with their ladyships. The "sufficient evidence" Dr Mann has supplied is a series of mendacious claims to have been "investigated" and "exonerated" by multiple Anglo-American bodies that, in fact, did neither.
So I was right not to bother with this proceduralist bollocks: except for Rich Lowry, it was a complete three-year time-waster and we're back to where we were in January 2014 when I was panting to go to trial. For a near-third-of-a-decade in the making, I do think this troika might have worked a little harder on their argument. For my part, I regard the support for the First Amendment from the ACLU, NBC, The Washington Post et al as more relevant to how this thing is likely to come down in the end - although we may be a few years getting there.
The purpose of the whole sclerotic racket of American jurisprudence is to obstruct up-and-down trials with a nice clean guilty/not-guilty final score, and instead bury the thing in proceduralist flimflammery only the experts can follow. Take, for example, this Tweet from Noah McCormack:
DC Circuit shoots down Mark Steyn and National Review's SLAPP motion, climate scientist's libel case can go to trial
Er, no. It wasn't my motion. Nothing to do with me. In fact, I objected to it. As I said above, I thought the appeal was a waste of time, and filed a motion to proceed to trial three years ago. Mann filed a motion objecting to that, a position the judge found "ironic". Very droll, I'm sure.
In a third of the time it took the DC Court of Appeals to issue their ruling, I managed to write an entire book on the subject (dealing in part with all those faux exonerations): "A Disgrace To The Profession": The World's Scientists - In Their Own Words - On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, And Their Damage To Science - Volume One. If you're looking for a last-minute Christmas present, well, I could do with an uptick in royalties - and this tome certainly has its admirers:
The first thing you see when you walk in the office is Mark Steyn's book about Michael Mann.
We'll be renewing (yet again) our request to the Superior Court judge that Mann respond to discovery (I responded to his almost three years ago). In February, I'll be in Vancouver for the litigious Mann's suit against Dr Tim Ball. And sometime after that we'll be heading to trial down south. Toronto's leading ovine-fornication specialist M J Murphy has already got his gloat on.
~Angelica M Sharp writes from Texas:
Re your show debut delay: Yeah, I kinda see this as a good thing. I keep putting my toe in the pool (Steynamite content - humor and some edumacation ) and then yanking it out (Steyn singing). Maybe by the time this ball gets rolling, I will have made up my mind. I know. I know. There's always the mute button.
Angelica M Sharp
Well, included in your subscription you also get Steven Crowder, who's half my age, twice as good-looking, and ten times less bad a singer. So there's that.
To be honest, it's been somewhat sobering confronting the degree of resistance to my television venture. As far as I can tell, most readers want me just to pump out ineffectual #JeSuis[YourTownHere columns every week until I keel over (or go to gaol in DC for contempt of court).
~I'm more popular among cat-fanciers than TV coinnosseurs or DC jurists. So unfortunately the pre-Christmas sales fillip has caused my album Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats to sell out at Amazon. I understand a new shipment of CDs arrived yesterday, but evidently have yet to make it to Amazon's display racks. Nevertheless, it is there in the warehouse, and, if you order, it will ship in a day or two. (And while you're waiting there's always my Christmas album.)
On the other hand, if you doubt my assurances, you can always pick up the album from CD Baby or direct from the Steyn Store. And, if you can't wait for the mailman, it can be yours in seconds via digital download from either Amazon or iTunes.
We're gonna need a lot of cat downloads to get us through the trial.
UPDATE: I'll have more to say about this after Boxing Day, but, if you're panting for some instant analysis to go with the eggnog and figgy pudding, here's a report from The Hill. A post from something called Academe hails it as a victory for "academic freedom", but Jonathan Adler at The Washington Post calls it "tremendously unfortunate".