VA Supremes to Hear Case of Cooch v. Academic Freedom

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    The case of Ken Cuccinelli’s unconstitutional harassment of climate scientist Michael Mann is now headed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

    This ought to be interesting.  According to the Virginia Times-Dispatch story,

    In granting the full hearing, the court outlined key legal questions to be considered, including what is the standard Cuccinelli had to meet for believing that U.Va. had relevant documents; how much proof of wrongdoing Cuccinelli had to show to have his request granted; and whether a Virginia statute aimed at combating fraud of taxpayer dollars applies to federal grant money that only passes through the state’s hands.

    Considering that Cooch’s case is based solely on wacko climate change conspiracy theories – even though many climate skeptics have actually condemned Cooch’s actions in this case – and he presented ZERO evidence that Professor Mann committed anything resembling fraud, this ought to be the very definition of an open-and-shut case.  

    Still, I have to admit I have rarely followed the VA Supreme Court and don’t know quite what to expect to them.  Per Judgepedia, I see a 3-2 Republican-Democratic split on the court.  Will the Republican appointees slavishly defend Cooch, or will they act like actual judges considering the facts of the case?

    I encourage all interested parties to file amicus briefs arguing for academic freedom at the University of Virginia and beyond.  I’d also like to hear from some of our lawyer friends about what they think we should expect from the court and any suggestions on how to file such briefs successfully.  

    Ultimately, I’m confident that we will win this fight, because freedom of speech and inquiry is what America is all about.