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Judge Preserves Privacy of Climate Scientist's Emails 345

ananyo writes "Climate scientist Michael Mann reported Monday that he and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have prevailed in a court case against the conservative American Tradition Institute (ATI), which had sought access to emails he wrote while serving as a professor at the school from 1999-2005. Now at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Mann says the ruling supports the University of Virginia's argument than an exemption to the state's freedom-of-information law 'applies to faculty communications in furtherance of their work.' The Prince William County Circuit Court ruling came directly from the bench in and was not immediately available online. The Virgina Supreme Court tossed out a case against Mann in March. The state's conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, had, among other things, demanded access to the climatologist's emails, arguing that Mann might have manipulated data and thus defrauded the government in applying for scientific grants."
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Judge Preserves Privacy of Climate Scientist's Emails

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  • Re:"Might have" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @09:33AM (#41373549)

    Mann was part of the earlier email controversy [wikipedia.org]. So Cuccinelli, while no doubt political grandstanding for *his* own benefit, didn't just pull Mann's name out of a hat. There was at least some evidence from that earlier case that Mann may have been *ahem* "exaggerating" certain claims for his own benefit.

    Now, how much of this is politics and personal aggrandizement on either side is up for debate of course.

  • Re:Not conservative (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @09:42AM (#41373627)

    But just vote libertarian. Some people see it as a throw away vote

    You only throw away your vote when you vote for someone who doesn't represent your interests, like for 99% of the population a -R or a -D. I'm voting -L. I used to vote -R and if they toss out the current crop of lunatics I might go back.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @09:44AM (#41373637) Homepage
    What is that saying about outrageous claims? I guess that rule does not apply if your position matches a certain political platform.

    Exactly! You should not be able to make the outrageous claim that artificially increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, an empirically proven greenhouse gas, by approximately 30% has no effect on global temperatures just because your position matches a right-wing political platform.
  • "Public records" means all writings and recordings that consist of letters, words or numbers, or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostatting, photography, magnetic impulse, optical or magneto-optical form, mechanical or electronic recording or other form of data compilation, however stored, and regardless of physical form or characteristics, prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. Records that are not prepared for or used in the transaction of public business are not public records." VA Code 2.2-3701 [state.va.us]

    IANAL, but it seems this case would likely hinge upon whether Prof. Mann is considered an employee of the State, and whether his emails were documenting transactions of public business.
  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:02AM (#41373791)

    Left -- the system is rigged, so increase taxes and redistribute to make it fair

    I see this so often, but honestly think it is baloney. Some liberals eye others' stuff -- the homologues to Hannity and Beck -- but the *vast* majority of liberals do not believe that taxes should be increased to make a rigged system fair. There are two orthogonal concerns there. The first is social justice, which doesn't involve raising taxes at all. (Most social justice programs are generally cheap.) The second is about balancing the budget -- something that the GOP seems unable to do, but the Dems have a fine record. And the second is also about Kensyian economics, and liberals have the record on job creation by 2-1. (Rich people take money out of the system because they save moe. This slows down the economy. Poor people spend everything, and this raises demand and speed the economy. Trickle-down economics is about increasing the amount of investment money; however, we already have a glut of that.)

    So please get the motivations correct.

  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) <davide.marney@ne ... rg minus painter> on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:53AM (#41374273) Journal
    ... and that would be a proxy for temperature, not a direct measurement.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers