Tuesday, September 18, 2012

UVa is Much in the News These Days

UVa is much in the news these days, both with the top-down coup against President Sullivan (nice long but somewhat less filling article in the NYTimes magazine) and not with a bench ruling by Judge Paul Sheridan that Michael Mann's Emails are indeed not subject to Freedom of Information disclosure as

Data, records or information of a proprietary nature produced or collected by or for
faculty or staff of public institutions of higher education, other than the institutions'
financial or administrative records, in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on
medical, scientific, technical or scholarly issues, whether sponsored by the institution
alone or in conjunction with a governmental body or a private concern, where such data,
records or information has not been publicly released, published, copyrighted or patented.
What is especially encouraging is that this was a bench ruling, the judge read the briefs, heard four hours of pleadings and said bullshit to ATI.  Eli eagerly awaits snarking opportunities once the written record is releases.

Other links for bunnies reading pleasure:

Prof. Mann's facebook page
Climate Crocks
Climate Science Watch
And any day the people who initiated this inquisition lose one is a good day.
Climate Progress

Not a whole lot of different stuff here there and anywhere, but Eli figures a bench ruling after a long and drawn out process is pretty much a sign that the judge is wondering why the losing side wasted everyone's time and money.  If this were the UK, costs would be under discussion, in the US, probably not.  Brian should take a swing at this one.

Still, it is fun to read the American Tradition Institutes lawyerly take on this, especially given that their counsel, the eminent Schnare was moonlighting for them while working for the EPA.  By the by, Eli wonders where is the FOIA and complaints to the DC Bar on that one? :

ATI's lead paragraph ends
The trial-court level judge ruled from the bench, siding with ATI on the first two questions, with theUniversityofVirginiaon the third, while rejecting the arguments of intervenor Michael Mann.
The Virginia court came down in agreement with ATI on the threshold questions: the university is indeed covered by VFOIA, as is the department at issue, as are those very records ATI seeks. 
Since no one disagreed with that and UVa has an office and procedures to deal with FOIA requests, that is indeed unexpected, esp in light of the many FOIA requests granted in the Dragas v. Sullivan imbroglio.  One bit of new information is that
The judge rejected all arguments by Intervenor Michael Mann whose intervention, the Court said from the bench, unnecessarily complicated matters, and without impact. 
As to why they were without impact, well, sadly 
 The Court then stated that, under VFOIA’s exemption 4 for “proprietary” information, [see law above] so long as the discussions somehow reflect discussion about research among academics — even ‘hide the decline’ — they may be withheld or disposed of so long or however the university sees fit. 
In other words, get out of my court, and if the bailiff kicks you on the way out, well that's your problem.

Still, there was something interesting in the ATI release, covered with spittle, but interesting nonetheless,
Regardless, ATI has succeeded in obtaining hundreds of records from other state schools and government agencies, including several hundred of Mann’s emails while at UVa. The University of Arizona, employer of two lead players in Climategate including one of the co-authors of the infamous “Hockey Stick”, has also produced an index of email records a professor has refused to turn over, laying out a helpful chronology of the mysterious, supposedly exculpating but secret-at-all-costs “context.”


John Mashey said...

See Appendix A.6.2 in See No Evil, Speak Little Truth...

Schnare has a little tax-exempt "publci charity" through which he teaches George Mason law students how to do what he does.

Anonymous said...

Hughes is a Red. Gone up even more in my estimation. Istanbul 2005, what a match, almost had a coronary.

Will ATI be paying costs? Not a good year for denial in the courts regardless of hemisphere. Shame...