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.

    • Bumble Bee

      This is Virginia

    • Mike1987

      I am not so confident that impartiality and fairness somehow trumps politics and ideology in local, state, or federal court systems.  I am one who no longer thinks our justice system is fair and protects all.  I now very strongly suspect our judges decide based almost solely on ideology and their financial interest. The HRC federal court splits (right down ideology lines) tells me our judicial systems have completely failed, couple that with Citizens United, and you will get more fairness at a customer service center in Walmart than in  a court.

    • kindler

      …but First Amendment cases seem different — look at how the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court defends free speech whether the issue is internet porn, animal abuse videos, or protesting at funerals. It’s pretty remarkable.