A Washington judge acknowledged to have the worst reputation for bias and abuse of process is appointed to oversee one of the biggest science lawsuits since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. The appointment of Judge Natalie Combs-Greene has enraged skeptics of the U.S. government’s tax-raising crusade built on junk man-made global warming science. It’s no secret that Greene is rated by Washington lawyers as one of the worst on the circuit.
Here’s some background to the case. Prominent government global warming scientist Michael Mann, the plaintiff in the action yesterday (October 23, 2012) announced he has filed suit against a skeptic American conservative think tank and the National Review Online (NRO) and others. Mann claims the defendants libeled him by comparing his employer’s investigation into misconduct allegations of a fellow employee with an investigation into his own alleged misconduct. The “fellow employee” is none other than convicted pedophile, Jerry Sandusky. And many analysts agree there are obvious similarities in the way Penn State University handled their internal separate investigations into Mann and Sandusky. I remain firmly of the opinion that Mann’s junk science helped Penn State fleece the taxpayers of personal grants of $4.2 million in grants between 2006 and 2009, let alone the billions that have been wasted pursuing pointless carbon emissions policies.
One of the defendants in this case, the Competitive Enterprise Institute first ran the opinion piece on their blog by in house author Rand Simberg, which thereafter inspired another allegedly defamatory opinion piece by NRO writer Mark Steyn. Although the CEI withdrew two sentences from the Simberg article upon Mann’s “take down” notice, they, like the NRO, state they won’t back down any further. Their defense to the action will likely be First Amendment free speech privilege and the right of fair comment about a public figure. As the ACLU v. Reno, 521 U.S. 844 (1997), cases demonstrates, regulation of content over the Internet is challenging in light of the protections guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Simberg may have made some minor factual errors on the technical details e.g. his piece mistakenly refers to the National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General (OIG) as the National Academy of Science (NAS), which is a triviality and neither the OIG or NAS are parties to the action anyway. But from plain reading of the Steyn and Simberg blog pieces it is readily apparent no one was accusing Mann of being a pedophile, which is the crux of this matter. The real issues raised by skeptics are those eerie similarities in the way the employer of Mann and Sandusky, Penn State University, seemed to handle both investigations about alleged misconduct by their employees. My own article at the time analyzed this in some detail and Mann also threatened me with a lawsuit. But I’ve yet to be served.
As analyst, Popehat notes, “the [Mann] complaint misconstrues hyperbolic rhetoric and statements of opinion as false statements of fact. “Merely rhetorical hyperbole” and “lusty and imaginative expression of . . . contempt” and “vigorous epithets” are generally treated as protected statements of opinion, not actionable statements of fact. Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1, 17 (1990);Letter Carriers v. Austin, 418 U.S. 264, 284-286 (1974). Here, many of the statements by Samberg (sic) or Steyn complained of are clearly hyperbole in the service of political opinion.”
Nonetheless, somehow Mann’s slick lawyers believe they can prove libel and after a delay of three months have officially set the legal wheels in motion. They not only face strong defense based on constitutional rights but Steyn has an impeccable track record in defending such cases. So is Mann’s legal team as crazy as he looks? Perhaps not.
“Somehow” Judge Natalia Combs Greene reputed to be one the most biased and incompetent judges in Washington has been appointed to handle this huge case. This comes as no surprise to hard-bitten and cynical legal analysts. Not only is she Greene by name she’s green to the core. But that’s not the worst of it. Every attorney and litigant who has expressed a public opinion on her has labeled Greene among the worst judges when it comes to such matters as strict adherence to discovery rules.
Is this going to be cause for concern for Steyn and co? You bet. The defendants are putting all their faith in the discovery process. But that may not help them if Judge Greene is presiding. Rich Lowry, editor of NRO, wrote that Mann was going “to great trouble and expense to embark on a losing cause that will expose more of his methods and maneuverings to the world.” While Simberg wrote “the last thing that Mann wants to do is go under oath with a discovery process.”
Certainly, they are correct that the last thing Gore and his DC cronies want to see is open courtroom examination of all Michael Mann’s data relating to the infamous “hockey stick” graph. Big Green NGO’s, the UN and western policymakers are hugely invested in this scam and have trumpeted Mann’s dodgy graph as the smoking gun that proves global warming claims. As such Greene is presiding over a critical case impacting trillion dollar government policy; moreover a high profile legal defeat for one of the world’s most prominent climatologists cannot be countenanced by Al Gore and the bankster class.
But as we see from Greene’s track record she “Openly states she is on the side of DC government attorneys, having been one herself, and turns a blind eye to their refusal to participate in discovery and late responses.”
For readers unfamiliar with court procedures, the discovery process is a pre-trial process whereby opposing litigants may assert their legal entitlement to have access to particular documents and other evidence within the possession of the adverse party.
Usually refusal to fully and fairly comply in this process results in severe sanctions imposed by the court and this often results in the offending party losing the case. For those who have followed Mann’s other courtroom exploits, north of the border in Vancouver, Canada Mann is currently embroiled in another crucial lawsuit against Canadian climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball.
For more than a year now Mann has stubbornly refused to comply in supplying Ball’s attorney with copies of calculations and data for the “hockey stick” graph that Mann argues are protected by “proprietary rights” which allow him to keep them secret. But because he is the plaintiff in these cases that contention doesn’t fly.
So having Greene on the bench in Washington will be right up Mann’s street being that he has pulled every trick in the book to keep secret the dodgy calculations he used to concoct his infamous “hockey stick” graph, the iconic image waved by the UN and government policymakers keen to raise “green” taxes.
In one prominent lawsuit Greene was accused of allowing corners to be cut during the discovery process and some observers claim this was instrumental in the controversial ruling in favor of defendants, Alpha Kappa Alpha, the “oldest African-American sorority in the United States.”
Judge Combs-Greene is listed as one of the 10 worst judges in Washington DC. In a review of robeprobe.com and other online reviews of judges my colleagues and I couldn’t find a single review of this judge that was positive. Here is a flavor of some of the comments about Judge Greene from lawyers and litigants who have had the misfortune to cross her path.
“With great hubris, Judge Combs-Greene controls every aspect of the court room to ensure a favorable outcome for DC.”
“….disregards the law.”
“Worst possible judge in DC… She acts not on the law but on her emotional bias, she controls every aspect of the case to ensure the outcome she wants”
So, watch out Steyn, Simberg, NRO and CEI, you could be fighting against loaded dice here.