Monday, January 27, 2014

Mark Steyn now free to proceed in climate defamation lawsuit, no longer constrained by National Review lawyers

1/22/14, “Trial and Error,”

As readers may have deduced from my absence at National Review Online and my termination of our joint representation, there have been a few differences between me and the rest of the team. The lesson of the last year is that you win a free-speech case not by adopting a don’t-rock-the-boat, keep-mum, narrow procedural posture but by fighting it in the open, in the bracing air and cleansing sunlight of truth and justice.” (last parag. in article)

Although I was the only one on the NR side who’s actually won a free-speech battle (and so decisively that the law was eventually repealed), I was prevailed upon through the course of last year to leave it to the experts. The result is that we blew through half a million bucks, and have nothing to show for it - other than what even Judge Weisberg calls a “convoluted procedural history” that utterly buried the real issues at the heart of the case. As my motion put it:
Defendant Steyn has been in many courtrooms in his native Canada and many other parts of the British Commonwealth and has never seen a case so procedurally bungled.
Many “climate skeptics” wonder why the defendants would want to get the complaint dismissed rather than put Mann through a trial in which he would have to take the witness stand and discuss his work under oath. I can understand their enthusiasm for this but for me the priority has always been the broader cause of free speech:
Defendant Steyn stands by his words and is willing to defend them at trial and before a jury, should it come to that. However, as a noted human-rights activist in Canada and elsewhere, he believes that the cause of freedom of expression in the United States would best be served by dismissing the amended complaint, and that a trial would have a significant “chilling effect” in America of the kind the Anti-SLAPP laws are specifically designed to prevent.
The “chilling effect” is a bigger threat to civilized society than all Dr Mann’s warming. But the judge chose instead to put us on the road to a full-scale trial. So be it.“…via Judith Curry, Climate Etc.


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