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Posts Tagged ‘FOIA’

Virginia Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Academic Freedom at the University of Virginia

The Supreme Court of Virginia today found unanimously in favor of the University of Virginia in its attempt to protect its employees from unwarranted intrusions into their privacy through the commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). In doing so, the Court rebuffed efforts by the American Tradition Institute (ATI) to gain access to the private correspondence of UVa researchers. The Court’s decision signals to scientists at public universities that the pursuit of scientific knowledge will be protected in Virginia, no matter how their research results might be received. Read More

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Recap: Virginia Supreme Court Hearing on FOIA, Scientific Research, and Michael Mann

Emblazoned on the facade of the Virginia State Library, and steps from the commonwealth’s capitol and Supreme Court are the following words of the state’s most prominent former resident, Thomas Jefferson: “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. They are the natural enemies of error and of error only.” This was the setting for the second trip in as many years by the University of Virginia and climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann to the commonwealth’s highest court. Read More

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Preview of Thursday’s VA Supreme Court Hearing: University of Virginia v. American Tradition Institute

UPDATE: I have now posted a recap of the January 9 hearing.

On Thursday, the Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the American Tradition Institute’s lawsuit seeking the private correspondence of climate scientist Michael Mann and dozens of other scientists. UCS and several other scientific and educational organizations argue that granting this access would damage scientists’ ability to communicate frankly and openly with their peers, and to explore new ideas free from harassment. Read More

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Can Attacking Scientists Be a Political Liability?

Politicians attack scientists to score points with voters and their backers, whether it’s members of Congress attacking individual government grantees or belittling scientists whose research undermines their legislative priorities.  It got so bad that UCS put out a guide for scientists who find their work under an unusual amount of scrutiny (still a good idea to take a look before you’re in that situation).  But yesterday’s election in Virginia may showcase how these sorts of attacks can backfire, making a candidate look extreme and out of touch. Read More

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Breaking: Climate Change Scientist Michael Mann (and Scientific Inquiry) Win in Virginia FOIA Case

Climate Scientist Michael Mann is reporting that in a ruling from the bench, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Sheridan has affirmed the right of the University of Virginia to protect the privacy of its researchers from overly broad open records requests.  Read More

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BP Goes After Scientists Who Helped Them During the Gulf Oil Disaster

The attack on the privacy of scientists’ email communication is expanding. It’s not just those who deny climate change who are going after the emails. Two scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wrote in the Boston Globe over the weekend that British Petroleum has successfully subpoenaed more than 3,000 confidential emails among scientists that discuss the Gulf oil disaster. Read More

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In Virginia, the Emperor Has No Clothes

Today, the Virginia Supreme Court rebuffed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s attempts to access the personal correspondence of climate scientists at Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. The court’s ruling found that the university does not constitute a “person” and is therefore not subject to the Civil Investigative Demands—essentially subpoenas—issued by the attorney general under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act in 2010. Read More

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Something’s Still Rotten in the State of Virginia

Something is still rotten in the state of Virginia,* but the press is largely missing what stinks: a little-noticed court agreement that may make plenty of scientists uneasy about pursuing cutting-edge research in the Old Dominion State. Read More

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