Mann -vs- ATI case–unsettled

Prince William climate case judge already anticipating the appeal

By Tom Jackman Washington Post


The e-mails of climate researcher Michael E. Mann are at the heart of a Freedom of Information Act case that will almost certainly wind up in the Virginia Supreme Court. (Tom Jackman – The Washington Post) If you’re into predicting the outcome of a legal case based on the comments made by the judge, retired Arlington Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan’s questions to the lawyers in the climate change/Freedom of Information case Monday were pretty interesting.

When the lawyer for renowned climate scientist Michael Mann said that the FOIA request for his e-mails by Rep. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute was calculated to annoy and harass Mann, Sheridan interjected: “How does that affect their legal right to FOIA production? Do we have a ‘purity of heart test’ before we apply the FOIA acts?”

Later, when Mann’s lawyer said that the process of peer review for research was “the bedrock of science,” Sheridan responded, “But is it the bedrock of open government? …Why does the general public have to trust scientists? Citizens wonder about open government. Why don’t we have access to the process? … FOIA is saying citizens have a right to see what government is doing.”

But at the end of four hours of argument, the judge did not grant ATI’s immediate request for 12,000 withheld e-mails written while Mann was a professor at U.Va., and did not rule that the school had waived its right to withhold the e-mails by providing them to Mann last fall. Instead, Sheridan acknowledged that however he rules, the case is headed to the Virginia Supreme Court to resolve several key FOIA issues the case raises:

Read more here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/prince-william-climate-case-already-anticipating-the-appeal/2012/04/17/gIQAfE1BNT_blog.html

Dr. David Schnare writes in with this:

Chris Horner and I will do a write up on the hearing after we get the transcript and can use actual quotes. In the mean time, you may wish to point interested readers to the Washington Post article. It gives some useful insights.

There were some block buster things that came out of the hearing, as you’ll see when we get our write up done. For example, the court forced UVA to admit on the record that the climate change debate is by no means settled. Just one example.

52 thoughts on “Mann -vs- ATI case–unsettled

  1. I just hope the emails are stored where warmist sympathizers can’t “accidently” erase them.

  2. “…the court forced UVA to admit on the record that the climate change debate is by no means settled.”

    What a strange world we live in when it takes a court of law to force a major university to agree with the extraordinarily obvious. Sounds like UVA was in denial!

  3. What is he “renowned” for? His ability to cause public concern and anger? Nothing scientific I think!

  4. Richard: At this stage in the litigation process, I can pretty much guarantee you the emails won’t be destroyed. There are probably multiple copies being held.

  5. beesaman says:
    April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am
    I can’t be the only one wondering why Mann is so desperate to suppress those emails!

    Nah, there’s got to be at least one more person.

    Maybe he or she will post here?

    I mean, you aren’t suggesting that other than the decline, Mann might have something else to hide, are you?

  6. judges have a way of producing opportunity and money for…..other lawyers! No ethics in law practice… unless you want to be a poor lawyer. Judges are attorneys that could not make it on their own practice. just my opinion, stricly low of the profession.

  7. every time I read about this, I think of Henry Stimson: “Gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail.”

  8. “beesaman says:April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am
    I can’t be the only one wondering why Mann is so desperate to suppress those emails!”

    You, me and half of creation would be my guess. I’m thinking something career ending like he admits it is all BS. Can’t wait to see.

  9. And if they’re not released, there’s a certain person that goes under the nom de plume of “FOIA” that may see it as the right time to release the password for all the still-encrypted emails in the last Climategate zip file. I’m willing to be there’s some overlap…

  10. I agree with
    Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:
    April 17, 2012 at 8:38 am
    “Misuse of the term “renowned”! What a way to prop up Dr. Smirk.”

    Perhaps notorious climate scientist Michael Mann would have been better. Isn’t he more widely known for what he corrupted, hid and covered up than any scientific achievements? If so, notorious is appropriate.

  11. “every time I read about this, I think of Henry Stimson: ‘Gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail.'”
    every time I read that, I think of Pearl Harbor. Can’t recall who the Secretary of War was at the time…

  12. beesaman says:
    April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I can’t be the only one wondering why Mann is so desperate to suppress those emails!

    Actually, I think you really are the only one. The thought hadn’t even occured to the other multiple thousands of visitors to WUWT.

  13. In a post yesterday about Mann ‘twitting’ against Booker, it was mentioned that Mann might be returning to UVa.
    Perhaps I’m overly suspicious but could this be an attempt to claim that in effect UVa did not pass the Emails out to a third party(Mann), but to a faculty member ‘elect’ to all intents and purposes: thereby countering ATI’s valid objection?

  14. Hmm. Advanced, untreated paranoia. Extreme persecution complex. Deep self-pity. This guy isn’t an undiagnosed alcoholic or addict, is he?

  15. The absurd drama continues.

    This man has all the hallmark of being in love with himself and thinks his research is above needing to be critically examined in the full.Yet in all this time we have never been allow to see all of his data that supposedly back up his research claims.But he is never in error and never accepts the possibility that he might not have all the facts lined up correctly.

    His “Hockey Stick” paper was obviously junk from day one because it contradicted decades of research on several scientific disclipines including history.The moment I saw that chart erasing the well known LIA and MWP climatic periods I knew his paper was propagandist junk.

    Yet he is considered a he he… ha ha……… a … “renowned” climate scientist…..

    bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

  16. Forgive me for reposting this from “Weather Cows” but seemed to fit here also:

    All this talk of cows and weather predictions got me curious about something. So, to satisfy my curiosity, I checked out some old emails on the UVa server. Lo and behold, I discovered that the lesser known but very first “Hockey Stick” wasn’t based on tree rings at all! It seems a certain someone studied a series of preserved hoof prints. Not being a farm boy, he could only tell which direction they faced by noting the location of any associated cow pies. After discarding those that didn’t have a cow pie, he determined the direction of the remainder. Assuming any wind coming from the direction of Tennessee would be warmer (for some unknown reason), he plotted his proxies and the very first “Hockey Stick” was born! But … alas … someone saw his raw data and it was discovered that he wasn’t looking at cow prints and cow pies at all but rather bull prints and bull … scat. But he liked the “Hockey Stick”! Rather than admit what it was really based on, he looked for something else to plot that would produce the same results as the original bull-based plot. When he noticed the first rise of his stick seemed to correspond to Al Gore’s winning his first election, he turned to something wooden. This is how the second, but better known, “Hockey Stick” was born. And now you know the rest of the story!

    On a more serious note, I can see someone not wanted to release their emails if they contained very personal information. But such information shouldn’t be put on a government computer. (I know, I work for the government.) These emails deal with “the fate of the planet” and, at least, the fate of national economies. Why not release voluntarily? If his work is so solid, he could then laugh at his critics.

    If I can add a PS, I DO work for the government … but not as a typist or proof reader!

  17. We’ll try under the Big Top. Someone, somewhere has got to cry mercy for Michael Mann. He is sitting on a Richter 11 hybris/nemesis fault line and he’s going to take a huge fall. Why do I have to be the one to feel sorry for him?
    =============

  18. Hay.
    Wut.
    How yew no wich wun uh thim trees is a T.R.E.E.M.O.M.I.T.U.R.

    Caws THISN’S uh WUN I’m’a ’bout tuh DREEL, BOY, now GIT BACK!1! GIT BACK!!

  19. In my IANAL op[inion, had Michael not Mann-handled his data and procedures, no one would be interested in perusing his Emails. As is usual in a courtroom – it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up!

  20. Admad on April 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm said:
    “Hmm. Advanced, untreated paranoia. Extreme persecution complex. Deep self-pity. This guy isn’t an undiagnosed alcoholic or addict, is he?”

    What Mann seems to be addicted to are taxpayer funded research grants. Which keep flowing from the Powers that be as long as he gives th[em] junk science to hang their hat on.

  21. I am left wondering whether you can invoke the Fifth Amendment Right on a FOIA Request?…,

  22. In criminal embezzlement cases they can’t hide behind academic freedom. Privacy of their work. No this won’t go away. The more they fight it the worse the outcome for mann.

    We have reason to believe it is worth a lot to block access to the records.

  23. This is going to be good. Mann must not be feeling too happy. Ah well, he wanted it hot and it’s getting hot for him. Nice. Kind of like instant karma.

  24. I can see why the emails are dubious. They’re subject to regulations requiring storage in case of legal actions, but they’re NOT a researcher’s work product. The latter (code, data, intermediate results, etc) is certainly public domain and shouldn’t even require a FOIA. Pushing hard on the work product is justifiable, but pushing hard to get the emails (through legal channels) may be counterproductive.

  25. I think like most sceptics I am watching this unfold and just waiting. At some point the world will see these emails, its just really a question of when. No one in their right mind would go to the trouble and expense of hushing this up of there wasn’t something to hush up here.

    I mean, UVA just went and handed out other emails for other professors without question and then along comes a FOIA request for Dr. Mann and suddenly then are spending serious money to not reveal these emails and claiming all sorts of things about these emails. Something is up in these emails otherwise the university itself wouldn’t be involved.

    Its a double standard and you do not see these without real purpose. At first I thought it might just be one of those “magician tricks” that warmists like to pull to hide something from sceptics which is a very popular liberal/warmist trick where they pretend to hand wave about one thing that is just plain nuts and hide something else under the media frenzy…which is normal, but this has been going on for so long now you know that is not the case…

    Shrug, regardless, there really is no defense for hiding one set of emails but not others, and the fact that anyone would claim this as foul obviously never saw the fact that other professors had their private emails snooped through under foia and obviously don’t see an issue with that.

    Like I always say here and elsewhere in the words of Animal Farm: Some animals are just more equal then others.

  26. polistra says:
    April 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm
    I can see why the emails are dubious. They’re subject to regulations requiring storage in case of legal actions, but they’re NOT a researcher’s work product. The latter (code, data, intermediate results, etc) is certainly public domain and shouldn’t even require a FOIA. Pushing hard on the work product is justifiable, but pushing hard to get the emails (through legal channels) may be counterproductive.

    ———-
    So, FOIA only applies to “work product?” Presumably, that is what is ultimately published. That’s the “Hockey Stick”. What is being argued here that every relevant communication during the time of the formation of that “work product” is subject to FOIAs. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to have enacted an FOIA law. Who would need an FOIA? Just go to the news stand and buy the “work product”.

    In my opinion, I suggest that you may want to readdress your logic and conclusion. The issue is how did he arrive at the “work product”. Particularly, in this context, that all of this time and effort was payed for by public tax grant $s. Did he conduct valid research and determine valid conclusions? That inquiry is the basis of all scientific progress in the history of urbanic culture. Why should this very new branch of untested “scientific” research be exempt from normal and established scientific scruitiny?

    Today is tax day in the US. How appropriate. I’m not particularly satisfied with the continued public tax subsidy of what appears to be substandard, or perhaps just secret and very questionable work, that is causing untold greater, and perhaps unwarranted, expenditures because of the conclusions of the “work product.” All paid for by my tax dollar. I’d rather spend it on my children and to put food on the table. Wouldn’t you?

    This man gave the world his “work product”, at the potential ultimate world cost of trillions of dollars or more, and for what evidentiary based demonstrable benefit? That is the problem. Don’t we deserve the right to learn the basis of this “work product?”

    This judge seems to have a grasp on what he is dealing with and its implications. Bravo!!

  27. The Mann has spent millions of taxpayer dollars engaging in studies to which he was quite happy to tie public policy. His hockey stick also did collateral damage to historians whom he turned into purported liars for using the Medieval Warm Period as an analytical tool. It is entirely appropriate that his professional communications be subjected to public scrutiny, especially as there is a strong chance that the UVA e-mails will be of a similar calibre to the Climategate opus – and yes, there was a lot to see there!

    He was happy to be public figure while the publicity winds blew favourably. He now has to accept the back end of the hurricane he helped unleash.

  28. @ vigilantfish says:

    April 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    The Mann has spent millions of taxpayer dollars engaging in studies to which he was quite happy to tie public policy. His hockey stick also did collateral damage to historians whom he turned into purported liars for using the Medieval Warm Period as an analytical tool. It is entirely appropriate that his professional communications be subjected to public scrutiny, especially as there is a strong chance that the UVA e-mails will be of a similar calibre to the Climategate opus – and yes, there was a lot to see there!

    He was happy to be public figure while the publicity winds blew favourably. He now has to accept the back end of the hurricane he helped unleash.

    *

    Totally agree with you.

  29. .
    Shawn says:
    ” These emails deal with “the fate of the planet” and, at least, the fate of national economies. Why not release voluntarily? If his work is so solid, he could then laugh at his critics.”

    A very good point which should be hammered home by ATIs legal team. If the judge is made to see that the future fate of the world from both a climate and a economic viewpoint hinges on Manns research, then he cannot possibly deny the release of the documents.

  30. “beesaman says:
    April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I can’t be the only one wondering why Mann is so desperate to suppress those emails!”

    Well Michael Mann’s legal pleadings claim that just allowing a judge to read the emails in private
    will damage the reputations of climate scientists around the world. Let alone what would happen if after reading them the judge decided to let the public see them. I suspect it is one of the few things in which I can say that I agree with Mann.

  31. I do not want Mann’s emails made public. And I’m not sure I would trust a judge to decide which ones are too private. This is an invasion of privacy, I think we are treading on thin ice here.

    Now if we could only hire Peter Gleik to trick Mann into releasing the emails, plus he could write a few fraudulent ones as well. That might just be the best way around this dilemma.

    I hear he’s looking for a job.

  32. When the lawyer for renowned climate scientist Michael Mann said that the FOIA request for his e-mails by Rep. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute was calculated to annoy and harass Mann, Sheridan interjected: “How does that affect their legal right to FOIA production? Do we have a ‘purity of heart test’ before we apply the FOIA acts?”

    I think for +20 years the IPCC’s CAGW gatekeepers have applied a ‘purity of heart’ requirement for scientists to be included in the IPCC process. The gatekeepers require a pre-science/’a priori’ belief in the CAGWist presumption that it is bad for mankind to burn fossil fuels.

    John

  33. Later, when Mann’s lawyer said that the process of peer review for research was “the bedrock of science,” Sheridan responded, “But is it the bedrock of open government? …Why does the general public have to trust scientists? Citizens wonder about open government. Why don’t we have access to the process? … FOIA is saying citizens have a right to see what government is doing.”

    Trust is irrelevant in the epistemological processes that the scientific method depends on.

    Forget trust and apply pure skeptical verification of all scientific research which wishes to be considered part of the body of Science (with a capital ‘C’).

    John

  34. Oops . . .

    John Whitman on April 18, 2012 at 6:38 am said:

    Science (with a capital ‘C’).

    Science (with a capital ‘S‘).

    John

  35. “When the lawyer for renowned climate scientist Michael Mann…”

    Isn’t that a misprint? Shouldn’t that read “notorious climate “scientist” Michael Mann”?

    OR “infamous climate “scientist” Michael Mann”? Scientist should always be in quotation marks when referring to these pseudos.

  36. klem says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:33 am

    You are off the mark here, Klem. That is no invasion of privacy. It has been understood that emails of public officials are in public domain, especially when criminal acts are charged. There is also no claim of “expectation of privacy”, when one uses electronic written media.

    The confusion arises with phone conversations. A phone conversation is ongoing, so it carries an inherent expectation of privacy, and the conversation cannot be recorded. However, a phone message that is recorded by the alleged perpetrator (past event) is not protected, nor are the details of a past conversation (viz. time, place, duration).

    This is all by legal precedent.

  37. Does this mean Cuccinelli will make the case against Mann? Cuccinelli will tear it apart!

    I’m ashamed of my alma mater. Is no revered institution imune from this AGW tripe?

  38. klem says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I do not want Mann’s emails made public. And I’m not sure I would trust a judge to decide which ones are too private. This is an invasion of privacy, I think we are treading on thin ice here…..
    ________________________
    Sorry dude, that issue was addressed a long, long time ago. Invasion of privacy, only refers to you home PERIOD. That is why Monsanto was allowed to trespass on farmers fields and collect evidence that was then used to sue farmers. It is also why PETA can trespass a half mile down your private drive and into your backyard and get photos to take you to court. (My neighbor)

    (Why is the “CHANGE” alway in 1970’s or thereabouts?)

    Katz v. United States

    ….As the Court’s opinion states, “the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.” The question, however, is what protection it affords to those people. Generally, as here, the answer to that question requires reference to a “place.” My understanding of the rule that has emerged from prior decisions is that there is a twofold requirement, first that a person have exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy and, second, that the expectation be one that society is prepared to recognize as “reasonable.” Thus, a man’s home is, for most purposes, a place here he expects privacy, but objects, activities, or statements that he exposes to the “plain view” of outsiders are not “protected,” because no intention to keep them to himself has been exhibited. On the other hand, conversations in the open would not be protected against being overheard, for the expectation of privacy under the circumstances would be unreasonable….

    Most employers make it very clear that there is not “expectation of privacy” at work. As a lab manager I have had my telephone conversations monitored and my e-mails read as a matter of company policy. I might not like it but it is expected in this modern age. The existence of FOIA (July 4, 1966) makes it just as clear to government employees that there is no “expectation of privacy” at their place of work either.

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law ensuring public access to U.S. government records. FOIA carries a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the government – not the public – to substantiate why information may not be released. Upon written request, agencies of the United States government are required to disclose those records, unless they can be lawfully withheld from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. This right of access is ultimately enforceable in federal court.

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/foia.html

    VIRGINA (See: The full text of the Freedom of Information Act in a form showing all amendments to the statute made by the “Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007.” )

    The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right of access to Federal agency records, except to the extent that such records are protected from release by a FOIA exemption or a special law enforcement record exclusion. It is VA’s policy to release information to the fullest extent under the law.

    A Judge have already ruled that the University of Virgina is not a “corporation” or a person but a government entity. (See: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2012/mar/02/11/va-supreme-court-rules-against-cuccinelli-uva-clim-ar-1735035/ )

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