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Judge stays Cuccinelli's U-Va. climate change subpoena, sets Aug. 20 court date

Rosalind Helderman

An Albermarle County judge has stayed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand to the University of Virginia for documents related to a former university climate scientist, pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the request.

The university faced a July 26 deadline for complying with the subpoena but Circuit Court Judge Cheryl V. Higgins stayed the demand after the university petitioned the judge asking her to set Cuccinelli's inquiry aside. Cuccinelli has said he is investigating whether former university professor Michael Mann committed fraud when he sought and spent five public grants for his research. The university is resisting the request, arguing that Cuccinelli is intruding on Mann's academic freedom.

Such a stay is common practice and was formalized as part of a scheduling order that has been in the works for some time (the judge seems to have signed it June 10) but has been circulated to lawyers just this week. The order, agreed to by both sides, also sets a schedule for the circuit court's consideration of the university's petition, culminating in the courtroom showdown of oral arguments on Aug. 20.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 22, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman  
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Comments

Idiot judge.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | June 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Cucinelli's legal positions here and in the Health Care lawsuit are not legally sound. He will be suffering a string of high-profile legal defeats, starting here.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 22, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The scientist lied to receive Fed. funding that is fact. The stay will be rescinded and the scientist will be ordered to repay the grants. As for the health care bill most people don't want it, that is another red herring that the WAPO likes.

Posted by: zcxnissan | June 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

If you say so, but so far Cucinelli's batting zero.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Cucinelli will have a difficult task in proving fraud (although the CRU emails provide probable cause for the AG action). The weakness of the science itself is not so hard to expose (cf. Jan Epser's work in Science 2002, it seems that Mann does not know what de-trending does to tree-ring sequences). What I see here is an attempt by the university to defend reputation by not having the dirty linen put-out for the AG (by citing academic freedom). The case of the AG is also weakened by secondary factors (it seems hardly likely that the AG is esp. interested in scientific integrity, although this does not mean that the work in question has much integrity). In the Mann case, fraud perhaps not, but a 'climate' of dishonesty, yes. E.g. (from CRU):

From: Phil Jones (p.jones@uxxxxx.uk)
To: "Michael E. Mann" (mann@vxxxxxx.edu)
Subject: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Date: Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004

[...] I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
Cheers, Phil

Seriously, the main thing for the US common good is not to get after Mann or the Virginia AG, but to NOT FOLLOW the implications of the questionable findings (like the EPA's CO2 endenagerment ruling). This, rather than a witch-hunt, might be the AG's ultimate goal (if so, I wish him luck).

Bruce M. Albert, Leverhulme Post-Doc., Durham University (UK) and Research Fellow, Department of Geography and Environment, U. Texas at Austin (USA)

Posted by: bmalbert1 | June 23, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Cucinelli will have a difficult task in proving fraud (although the CRU emails provide probable cause for the AG action). The weakness of the science itself is not so hard to expose (cf. Jan Epser's work in Science 2002, it seems that Mann does not know what de-trending does to tree-ring sequences). What I see here is an attempt by the university to defend reputation by not having the dirty linen put-out for the AG (by citing academic freedom). The case of the AG is also weakened by secondary factors (it seems hardly likely that the AG is esp. interested in scientific integrity, although this does not mean that the work in question has much integrity). In the Mann case, fraud perhaps not, but a 'climate' of dishonesty, yes. E.g. (from CRU):

From: Phil Jones (p.jones@uxxxxx.uk)
To: "Michael E. Mann" (mann@vxxxxxx.edu)
Subject: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Date: Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004

[...] I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
Cheers, Phil

Seriously, the main thing for the US common good is not to get after Mann or the Virginia AG, but to NOT FOLLOW the implications of the questionable findings (like the EPA's CO2 endangerment ruling). This, rather than a witch-hunt, might be the AG's ultimate goal (if so, I wish him luck).

Bruce M. Albert, Leverhulme Post-Doc., Durham University (UK) and Research Fellow, Department of Geography and Environment, U. Texas at Austin (USA)

Posted by: bmalbert1 | June 23, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

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