Mark Steyn’s Motion for Summary Judgment

 

This motion for summary judgment by Mark Steyn in the case of Michael Mann v. National Review came up tonight in my Twitter feed. (Here’s a link to the PDF.)

I was woefully behind on this issue, but reading this helped bring me up to date, I think. I didn’t know a court filing could be written this way, though. It started out more like a moderate polemic, and then settled down into being very informative. It was also very readable.

I hadn’t known any of the details it contains about the Penn State committee that was supposed to investigate Mann. It fits my preconceived notions of how the deep state works to protect its own, though. For example, a member of the committee who had recused himself continued to be involved behind the scenes. And the President of the university, to whom the committee was supposed to be reporting, was giving feedback and suggestions regarding the drafting of the report.

Steyn makes the point that the Michael Mann case is of one piece with the Jerry Sandusky case, in which Penn State also fostered a culture in which the university’s reputation was temporarily protected at the expense of ethical considerations.

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  1. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Michael Mann is a fraud.

    • #1
  2. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Michael Mann is a fraud.

    Plus, he is one of the nastiest and most vindictive people in academia.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Michael Mann is a fraud.

    Plus, he is one of the nastiest and most vindictive people in academia.

    I had sort of known that, but the court filing makes the case in detail.

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Michael Mann is a fraud.

    Plus, he is one of the nastiest and most vindictive people in academia.

    That’s like being the scummiest, most villainous guy in the Mos Eisley cantina.

    • #4
  5. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Per Mark Steyn in June of this year, “The Mann vs Steyn case is about to enter its ninth year in the choked septic tank of the District of Columbia (pending name change) “judicial” system.”

    The Costs of Mann Delay: or Michael E Mann, Loser (Again) and Deadbeat (for Sure) :: SteynOnline

    This could go on longer than even the Harris administration may last. As Mark says, “The process IS the punishment.”

    • #5
  6. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    A wonderful example how in America we have endless law and litigation, but no real justice.

    • #6
  7. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Kozak (View Comment):

    A wonderful example how in America we have endless law and litigation, but no real justice.

    Yeah, when a case goes on this long the only winners are the lawyers.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kozak (View Comment):

    A wonderful example how in America we have endless law and litigation, but no real justice.

    Like many things in life, the facts have been overcome by events. The judge should dismiss the case on the grounds that Mann’s work has been proven fraudulent, or at least there’s sound evidence it could be, thus an opinion it is fraudulent is valid and not slander or libel . . .

    • #8
  9. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Percival (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Michael Mann is a fraud.

    Plus, he is one of the nastiest and most vindictive people in academia.

    That’s like being the scummiest, most villainous guy in the Mos Eisley cantina.

    Go to 0:58 …

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Mann’s case is absurd. But once trial judge realized there were political overtones, the case went into a stall rather than let the right- wingers win.

    Mann simply refused to comply with discovery which should have ended it. By letting this BS suit fester and the legal costs grow, the judge probably hopes this will force a settlement and get if off the calendar without having to have a politically tinged trial that is no-win for the judge—criticized for letting climate denialists win or a very possible embarrassing reversal on appeal for a series of bad rulings.

    The same prickly, vain, hyper-partisan fellow seen in the Climategate emails urging colleagues to withhold all data from those checking the concoctions behind the “hockey stick” still feels entitled to hurt or silence his critics. Instead of providing the lawfully requested data (most or all of which should have already been archived for use by any and all reviewers) Mann refused. Denialist scum are not permitted to second-guess the high priesthood of Alarmism even if federal rules of procedure require it.

    • #10
  11. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I looked at buying a townhouse 4 years ago. The HOA was then into its four year of a lawsuit suing the builder for shoddy construction of the roofs and windows.The suit was for 1.5 million for all the units. It is still on going. If the HOA wins most of that money will be used for attorneys fees.

    • #11
  12. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    As background on the “hockey stick”, Mann measured the tree rings of some Bristle Cone Pine trees to estimate past temperatures. It is good that Bristle Cone Pines live for up to 4000 years, but it is bad that they are poor proxy for measuring past temperatures. Mann then took this poor data (making the “stick”) and appended temperatures from another source (making the “blade”) without ever noting in the paper that the “blade” was from another data source. It is clear academic fraud. If he had been honest about sourcing, then it would have been just typical junk climate science.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    In posting this I was hoping for more comments about two points:

    One. Whether the tone and style of this filing is customary and is likely to be effective. I rarely read such things, so I don’t know.

    Two. The deep-state machinations of the committee that was supposed to investigate Mann. Maybe some people here have knowledge of such things taking place in other arenas, inside and outside of academia. 

    • #13
  14. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    In posting this I was hoping for more comments about two points:

    One. Whether the tone and style of this filing is customary and is likely to be effective. I rarely read such things, so I don’t know.

    Two. The deep-state machinations of the committee that was supposed to investigate Mann. Maybe some people here have knowledge of such things taking place in other arenas, inside and outside of academia.

    Nothing unusual about the tone, especially given the nature of the case. The notion is timely and appropriate and right on the state of the case but Mann could presumably defeat this motion (with a politically sensitized judge) by alleging that the motion relies on interpretation of facts which interpretation Mann is entitled to challenge in a trial (which he has so far gone to great lengths to postpone).

    The Penn State thing was fixed. They did not want a star of the Alarmist movement (and thus a big name for soliciting grants) to go down, especially since that would also be a win for the evil rightwing on the sacred issue of climate change. 

    The lengthy saga of the hockey stick, especially in the invaluable work of Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit, can be summarized as (1) a rather subjective mess put through the “Mannomatic” using uncentered principle component analysis which of necessity largely overwhelmed the other data by the inclusion of the Graybill bristlecone pine bark series among along lots of questionably interpreted tree ring series (2) lengthy battles to conceal methods and block access to data followed by (3) a new, no-tree-ring model dominated in the Mannomatic by a flawed Finnish lake sediment study without which there was no hockey stick—until Mann put the bristlecone pine series back in instead for the final revised version.

    Bad methods and goal-oriented studies followed by stonewalling and conspiracy to stonewall review is not paradigmatic great science but may not constitute academic fraud these days. In any event, I never expected anything other than a whitewash from the Penn State process. Ideology and money are big thumbs on the scale in all American university deliberations.

    The Climategate emails reveal that his peers were beginning to question whether it was in their interest and the interest of their professional specialty to keep circling the wagons around Mann. 

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Bad methods and goal-oriented studies followed by stonewalling and conspiracy to stonewall review is not paradigmatic great science but may not constitute academic fraud these days. In any event, I never expected anything other than a whitewash from the Penn State process. Ideology and money are big thumbs on the scale in all American university deliberations.

    I gathered from reading the filing is that there are quite a few academics who thought it involved academic fraud, but they weren’t willing to go to the mat to have Mann disciplined for it.

    As far as I can tell, the professor who was supposed to recuse himself but stayed involved anyway is now working at the National Science Foundation, even though the NSF was highly critical of what Mann had done. It could be a cases of the left hand at the NSF not knowing what the right hand was doing, or it could be a case of knowing very well what the right hand was doing. I would think it should be matter of concern outside this particular lawsuit. 

    • #15
  16. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    As background on the “hockey stick”, Mann measured the tree rings of some Bristle Cone Pine trees to estimate past temperatures. It is good that Bristle Cone Pines live for up to 4000 years, but it is bad that they are poor proxy for measuring past temperatures. Mann then took this poor data (making the “stick”) and appended temperatures from another source (making the “blade”) without ever noting in the paper that the “blade” was from another data source. It is clear academic fraud. If he had been honest about sourcing, then it would have been just typical junk climate science.

    @DonG, thanks for the explanation. This legal action has been going on for so long, I had forgotten those details.

    • #16
  17. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    As background on the “hockey stick”, Mann measured the tree rings of some Bristle Cone Pine trees to estimate past temperatures. It is good that Bristle Cone Pines live for up to 4000 years, but it is bad that they are poor proxy for measuring past temperatures. Mann then took this poor data (making the “stick”) and appended temperatures from another source (making the “blade”) without ever noting in the paper that the “blade” was from another data source. It is clear academic fraud. If he had been honest about sourcing, then it would have been just typical junk climate science.

    @DonG, thanks for the explanation. This legal action has been going on for so long, I had forgotten those details.

    There was also a smoothing algorithm that was applied to the proxy data that wasn’t applied to the ‘blade’ of the graph. That smoothing eliminated both the medieval warming and the little ice age, because it smoothed any trend that lasted less than three hundred years. If applied to the blade of the graph, it becomes as flat as the rest.

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Bad methods and goal-oriented studies followed by stonewalling and conspiracy to stonewall review is not paradigmatic great science but may not constitute academic fraud these days. In any event, I never expected anything other than a whitewash from the Penn State process. Ideology and money are big thumbs on the scale in all American university deliberations.

    I gathered from reading the filing is that there are quite a few academics who thought it involved academic fraud, but they weren’t willing to go to the mat to have Mann disciplined for it.

    As far as I can tell, the professor who was supposed to recuse himself but stayed involved anyway is now working at the National Science Foundation, even though the NSF was highly critical of what Mann had done. It could be a cases of the left hand at the NSF not knowing what the right hand was doing, or it could be a case of knowing very well what the right hand was doing. I would think it should be matter of concern outside this particular lawsuit.

    The NSF chief scientific statistician wrote a report requested by Rep. Imhoff’s committee blasting the math behind the hockey stick and also and the peer review practices of clubby little world of alarmist proxy study authors. Naturally lots of social media and academic blowback for daring to serve the interests of evil Congressional Republicans.

    • #18
  19. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    lengthy battles to conceal methods and block access to data

    That in itself should be a career-killer, but not in today’s corrupt academia. And no transparency = no science.

    • #19
  20. Eb Snider Member
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    Interesting. Good for him to file for a Summary Judgment, maybe it’ll cut a few years of the already aging case. It seems some US Legal cases require carbon dating. Some years ago my Mother in a court pushed her next to useless lawyer into filing for a Summary Judgment (she happened to teach a high school law class) which pushes for an immediate decision based on flimsy cases. She won. I’m no legal expert though. I used Summary in a basic civil case to win in a small claims court once. Steyn I believe recently fired his DC based law firm. Perhaps this is the result of the new lawyers.

    • #20
  21. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    ………………..

    The Penn State thing was fixed. They did not want a star of the Alarmist movement (and thus a big name for soliciting grants) to go down, especially since that would also be a win for the evil rightwing on the sacred issue of climate change.

    To add to this point- Penn State had just recruited Mann to come from Virginia and then this matter came up. They had been pumping Mann as their new entre into the climate research gold pot, and then Mann put his foot in it right away. Everyone involved, from Mann through to the university president was going to get a massive omelet on their collective face if Mann lost this kind of action right after his coronation at PSU. Now, even the IPCC has done a complete about-face on Mann’s hockey stick, so PSU us waiting for enough time to pass so that the publicity dribbles away when the lawsuit does.

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Eb Snider (View Comment):
    . Steyn I believe recently fired his DC based law firm. Perhaps this is the result of the new lawyers.

    Does this mean one should never hire DC lawyers except when one is on the side of the government? 

    • #22
  23. Eb Snider Member
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eb Snider (View Comment):
    . Steyn I believe recently fired his DC based law firm. Perhaps this is the result of the new lawyers.

    Does this mean one should never hire DC lawyers except when one is on the side of the government?

    Not exactly. Since there is local licensing of lawyers you’re forced to hire something licensed local, kind of a racket. It’d be nice if a lawyer in another state were able to come in and argue. The result is that one may have to hire duplicate lawyers. One to do the actual work, a second to file the papers and be the official lawyer to meet legal requirements. But you always MUST have local representation, which can be hard in a place like DC apparently to advocate his case. Steyn has fired US lawyers repeatedly because he thinks many of then are terrible and don’t represent the cases well – and he has experience elsewhere. It’s my understanding that Steyn fired these DC lawyers recently because the firm expressed some social virtue signaling or something woke that Steyn didn’t like. So instead of paying them money he fired them.

    But I’d say “yes” to not hiring attorneys on the side that is not yours. Lawyers are at least supposed to be an advocate for your cases and further what’s best for their client. For example in the case of Trump challenging the election issues in court Steyn commented that one of the DC law firms basically sandbagged the case and billed the client without any serious effort. The result was in effect to nullify adequate legal counsel. 

    • #23
  24. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Eb Snider (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Eb Snider (View Comment):
    . Steyn I believe recently fired his DC based law firm. Perhaps this is the result of the new lawyers.

    Does this mean one should never hire DC lawyers except when one is on the side of the government?

    Not exactly. Since there is local licensing of lawyers you’re forced to hire something licensed local, kind of a racket. It’d be nice if a lawyer in another state were able to come in and argue. The result is that one may have to hire duplicate lawyers. One to do the actual work, a second to file the papers and be the official lawyer to meet legal requirements. But you always MUST have local representation, which can be hard in a place like DC apparently to advocate his case. Steyn has fired US lawyers repeatedly because he thinks many of then are terrible and don’t represent the cases well – and he has experience elsewhere. It’s my understanding that Steyn fired these DC lawyers recently because the firm expressed some social virtue signaling or something woke that Steyn didn’t like. So instead of paying them money he fired them.

    But I’d say “yes” to not hiring attorneys on the side that is not yours. Lawyers are at least supposed to be an advocate for your cases and further what’s best for their client. For example in the case of Trump challenging the election issues in court Steyn commented that one of the DC law firms basically sandbagged the case and billed the client without any serious effort. The result was in effect to nullify adequate legal counsel.

    You need local counsel to (a) do filings and advice/navigate any local rules and/or (b) to vouch for the out-of-town lawyer so they can appear pro hac vice (admitted to practice in that jurisdiction or venue for this one case only). Top firms routinely handle cases outside their home jurisdiction in this manner. 

    It is not uncommon that firms might reject a case because it has bad optics from the point of view of existing clients. However, doing that once you are well down the road is unusual. Or at least, it used to be before cancel culture metastasized.

    • #24
  25. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The lengthy saga of the hockey stick, especially in the invaluable work of Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit, can be summarized as (1) a rather subjective mess put through the “Mannomatic” using uncentered principle component analysis which of necessity largely overwhelmed the other data by the inclusion of the Graybill bristlecone pine bark series among along lots of questionably interpreted tree ring series (2) lengthy battles to conceal methods and block access to data followed by (3) a new, no-tree-ring model dominated in the Mannomatic by a flawed Finnish lake sediment study without which there was no hockey stick—until Mann put the bristlecone pine series back in instead for the final revised version.

    These techniques use secondary indicators to prove primary hypothesis. The efficacy of the conclusion is based on the validity of the assumption tree rings can tell us about the climate then. No doubt they can to some extent, but one can question the accuracy of the link and possibly of external affects being the real source. About the only thing I’d hang my hat on is that tree rings do give an accurate age of the plant . . .

    • #25
  26. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Stad

    These techniques use secondary indicators to prove primary hypothesis. The efficacy of the conclusion is based on the validity of the assumption tree rings can tell us about the climate then. No doubt they can to some extent, but one can question the accuracy of the link and possibly of external affects being the real source. About the only thing I’d hang my hat on is that tree rings do give an accurate age of the plant . . .

    The fact that the tree rings aren’t a completely accurate indicator of climate is one of the excuses used for dropping them in favor of recent actual temperature records, starting in the 60’s IIRC. It’s just convenient that that timeline fits with the temperature drop ending in the 70’s and then, voila, hockey stick.

    • #26
  27. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Stad (View Comment):
    These techniques use secondary indicators to prove primary hypothesis. The efficacy of the conclusion is based on the validity of the assumption tree rings can tell us about the climate then. No doubt they can to some extent, but one can question the accuracy of the link and possibly of external affects being the real source. About the only thing I’d hang my hat on is that tree rings do give an accurate age of the plant

    The hockey stick was also intended to solve the “problem” of the Medieval Warming Period. The alarmists said (a) never happened–there was no bump on the blade of the hockey stick or (b) it was just a limited regional phenomenon. The simple fact is that there has been a lot of variance for a very long time and it is not mostly attributable to CO2.

    If you suffered through the Al Gore movie, you may recall a scene in which he presents a graph of the Vostok ice core trapped air bubble findings using a blue and a gold line for temperature (using oxygen isotopes as a proxy) and CO2 he urges the audience to see of the lines are similar! They are! Oohs and Ahs! Of course, Al does not tell them that the CO2 line lags behind the temperature line by an average of about 800 years and that what they are seeing is a long-term pattern in which the deep ocean releases CO2 after a long warming spell and then reabsorbs it after it cools with centuries required to complete the heat transfer. CO2 levels are the effect, not the cause. And the fact that there is a larger drive at work (Milankovic cycles?) is simply ignored. That kinda sums up the alarmist modus operandi.

    • #27