Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Virginia Judge Upholds Academic Freedom, Sort Of

The Charlottesville Daily Progress reports that in the morning of August 30, Judge Paul M. Peatross, Jr. of Albemarle County (around Charlottesville) ruled in favor of the University of Virginia against the subpoenas by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who sought documents including emails on the research of former U.Va climatology professor Michael Mann, "in their entirety, without prejudice."

Most observers are very pleased with this, including Michael Mann reportedly, now at Penn State, and I am also. However, there is an unfortunate caveat in the story. The judge also ruled that Cuccinelli has the authority to issue further "civil investigative demands" (CIDs), although they need to be more specfic than the ones he issued earlier that were struck down by this judge. Thus, I saw Cuccinelli on local TV earlier this evening proudly declaring that he would be right back at it again with further CIDs for U.Va, although this time more specific so that he can "satisfy this judge." So, unfortunately this business is not over at all, despite this favorable ruling for the moment. The assault on academic freedom will be continuing in Virginia, along with the publicity machine for Cuccinelli to be a big hero for the Know Nothing right wing.


Shag from Brookline said...

It's a shame that the judge's "without prejudice" ruling doesn't apply to AG Cuccinelli's motives.

Barkley Rosser said...

A further detail I saw in this morning's WaPo article on this (Metro section, first page) is that the judge did rule that Cuccinelli cannot investigate the applications for federal grants, which were four of the five that Cuccinelli claims he is investigating to find fraudulent use of taxpayer funds, his alleged excuse for what he is doing. However, there was one state grant application in there, so he is going to continue to issue CIDs in connection with that one, although he will have to be much more specific in his allegations as he does so.