Breaking: Virginia AG loses in Mann-UVA litigation — with prejudice

Here’s the opinion.

The Virginia Supreme Court holds that the University of Virginia is not a “person” subject to a “Civil Investigative Demand” from the attorney general.

So UVa won’t have to produce Michael Mann’s Climategate e-mails and documents to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Justice McClanahan dissented on the “with prejudice” ruling.

Cuccinelli vs. University of Virginia. (“Person” analysis begins on page 5 of the opinion.)

Click for the Washington Post report.

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23 responses to “Breaking: Virginia AG loses in Mann-UVA litigation — with prejudice

  1. They had to find some way to protect Mann and the CAGW clique from discovery. This seems to go directly against the existing body of “personhood” law, especially as it applies to organizations and corporations, so there should be little doubt that it’s politically motivated, not driven by concern for the law. It’s a travesty on it’s face, and a tragedy for the American people, but hardly a surprise, under current circumstances.

    • I don’t think jumping to the bog standard “conspiracy” theory is really appropriate here. The judge made a judgement call. The AG can appeal to a higher court. If it had gone the AG’s way, the same thing would have happened in any case, except it would be UV doing the appealing.

      • There would be no appeal if the judge had followed established law. The simple fact that the judge ignored recent and established precedent implies a consideration other than the law. That’s not a “conspiracy theory”, that’s stating the obvious from the judge’s disregard for the law. When established law and precedent is quoted as a basis, appeal becomes exceedingly difficult and unusual. It’s only in cases such as this where a lower court ignores the same that appeals drag on. At some point one or the other will appeal or capitulate, when this should have been decided in favor of the AG without further proceedings. Clearly the goal is to slow or stop the process of legitimate discovery. Maybe until after November?

  2. In Citizens United the Supreme Court ruled the opposite so that should be a good way to appeal, if Cuccinelli so desires. The question of course is why does UVA want to hide this in the first place. Transparency is paramount in science.

  3. Perhaps Virginia should cut of all funding of the university. Why should taxpayers be expected to subsidize programs which are not in their best interest?

  4. As a UVA alum, I have been embarrassed and appalled by The U’s refusal to share the requested Mann documents. Besides the points already made by many, the refusal flouts the spirit of the Honor System to which all UVA students were/are rigorously held accountable. I guess The U has decided that it does not need to hold itself to the same standards to which the students hold themselves.

  5. Just goes to show these guys have a lot to hide. Yes, cut off funding for UVA, they are not acting in the public interest. Also appeal to the SCOTUS.

  6. The courts and bureaucrats do not answer to the people and unless this is dramatically changed, what ever the cost, we are no longer a free people and will deserve only the bread and water allocated by the master in Washington.

  7. John M. Chenosky, PE

    Thomas Jefferson just rolled over in his grave—–AGAIN>

  8. Goeffry Simkins

    I think, above all, its the lengths Mann, Phil Jones, etc go to to avoid disclosing their data and documentation, and the coverups that support them, that leaves no doubt in my mind that AGW is a fraud against humanity.

    How can any reasonable person, who is not entirly stupid or on the gravy train, possible accept anything they say?

  9. Eric Baumholer

    Virginia Commonwealth agencies will rejoice. They are immune from fraud investigations! Hooray!

    • Coach Springer

      Had to read the decision to confirm it. All agencies are not subject to investigation because the law didn’t specifically name these public corporations as included persons. Sounds like a loophole big enough to drive a truckload of frauds through. The ruling was not based on an issue of academic freedom. It is possible – and has been done for personal enrichment or advantage – to intentionally mislead / misrepresent infromaion with false academic findings that fits the definition of fraud and deserves treament as fraud. Faked research will continue to come to light in probably increasing numbers, which surveys indicate, happens a lot.

      Don’t get me wrong, scientific (and academic) freedom is good. Academic freedom has its own threats from within. But the next thing we’re going to see is Justice Department investigations of think tanks and private institutions that get in the way of “environmental justice” and government defined science ethics. They probabaly wont’ need to resort to harrassment in the form of criminal investigations at public universities because there are other persuasions available if the rare university dares to get too prinicpled in allowing politically incorrect research.

  10. Just keep pounding away with the actual facts.. constantly. The response to the shift in the pdo, the solar cycles, and I think the aggressive and logical conclusion that given the properties of co2 and its minute quantities in the atmosphere IT CAN NOT cause warming ( the real smoking gun is the major cooling at the trapping hot spot level, even more pronounced now than it was in the graphs that show the difference between the forecast and previous reality before this downturn) will carry the day. In a way, this can be positive, for it will not leave the excuse that Dr. Mann was victimized or he is some kind of street fighting climate warrior. He is a warrior, but whether he knows it or not, it is for agenda that seeks control of others, and use weather and climate to get their way. How does one justify as being on the victims side, when that side is receiving aid from public sources that out does the private contributions to the contrary by 10.000 to 1? In the end. having to explain the lack of hockey stick in other studies ( china) the intuitive and physical fact that co2 can not cause warming, and the actual data, along with statements that indicate something other than objective science is involved here will carry the day. My worry is whether we have an economy left when all this is done

    • Amen, Mr. Bastardi. The amounts of monies involved in “scientific” grants have become little more than bribery and payoffs to support a particular political viewpoint. I remember well the late sixties and early seventies when the “scientific consensus” was that we were about to enter another ice age and the loonies were advocating dusting the Arctic with soot to blacken the ice and warm the earth. Nature has a way of making fools of those who exaggerate observations.

  11. As we paid for Mann’s work, we own and should have open access to his product(s), including his in process methods. It’s sad to note that the court is so deep into the politics. How can we trust them if simply asking for what we own is denied?

  12. Paul in Sweden

    The only recourse is to cut any and all public funding to UVA and urge alumni to do the same.

  13. So, as I understand it, it has been ruled that because the King (who was thrown out of power in Virginia as a result of some disagreements some 200 years ago) is not bound by law, it logically follows that the University of Virginia, as an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is not bound by law. Wouldn’t the little disagreement 200 years ago and the later codification of base law in the legal entities formerly known as colonies (AKA the Constitution) preempt the rights of the King and his successors? Or to put it differently, Have the courts ruled that the law applies to the peons, but not the state. Am I the only one who thinks that this is a bad thing. I think that some of the successors to the King (Like T. Jefferson, founder of UVa) would also think so.

    • YOu are dead on Dave. That was my interpretation as well. When this story first broke in the WaPo, I researched the Va supreme court members and it doesn’t appear to be an ideologically loaded court – I believe they were just interpreting the law on the books you addressed in your comment (with prejudice).
      It would appear the King has been replaced by the State only this time the people are not the victors.

      It will be interesting to see if/how this ruling impacts the http://www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/252543/cei-files-brief-seeking-nasa-records-chris-horner currently working its way through the courts.

  14. The bottom line is that UVA is above the law, according to the VA Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see how this might be applied towards FOIA requests from VA citizens for UVA documentation that may relate to misappropriation of VA taxpayer-provided funds.

  15. I have some questions!
    1. Can I assume then that under this ruling that someone working for a Virginia state regulatory agency, or administrative agency in this case, can now claim that all of their documents are sealed?
    2. How can this coincide with the foundational concept of the Freedom of Information Act?
    3. How can a law to protect state government be construed to protect itself against itself. Isn’t that in effect the ruling says? That sounds ludicrous, did I understand that correctly?
    4. Although the university is a ‘private corporation’, as a state university is the University of Virginia corporation owned by the state?
    5. If it is owned by the state, aren’t all employees at the UV employees of the state?
    6. Are all the documents in a privately owned company the property of the owner?
    7. If it is owned by the state aren’t all the documents property of the state?
    8. What is the chain of command in Virginia?
    9. Did the university officials see these documents?
    10. Do these people have to answer to elected officials?
    11. If they work for the state can’t they be ordered by the governor to turn over any documents required by the state?
    12. If the governor refused can the legislature require this?
    13. If however, this new concept of defining personhood is to be taken to it’s obvious conclusion can we not assume that ALL private corporations records are immune from any search and seizure claim by any prosecutor for any reason under this law?
    14. One final thought. Would any court in the nation have ruled this way if the plaintiff was an oil company?

  16. Rich, re point 14 above: at first I thought, “yes, because the oil company is private.” Then I remembered, “oh, not if the AG was investigating a fraud on the public that is costing billions of $!”

    Good point!

  17. jacques voorhees

    I think this will come back to haunt them. As Nixon discovered, it’s not the crime, but the cover-up. It almost doesn’t matter what they’re trying to hide. Everyone will now just assume the worst: it was something too embarassing to ever be released. The scandal will not disappear just because of a judge’s ruling.

  18. When are the American people going to wake up to the fact that they have a president, and an administration, that is determined to sabotage the US economy and the American way of life, all in the name of costly Al Gore-esque green political dogma?

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