Breaking News: Virginia Supreme Court on Academic Freedom at UV [UPDATED]

UPDATED: Interview with Michael Mann on this court decision (and other matters).

An important Virginia Supreme Court finding came out today, related to the hugely complicated maneno that I feel totally unqualified to explain to you ... but Michael Halpern of the Center for Science and Democracy is:

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.

For brevity’s sake, you can catch up on the events leading up to this decision in my preview of the court case and summary of oral arguments.

And click through to this post to get all the details and a thorough analysis: Virginia Supreme Court Unanimously Supports Academic Freedom at the University of Virginia

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Excellent news, and thanks for reporting it.

This case was absolutely critical, not only to academic freedom, but to the ability of college & university scientists to engage in research without being intimidated by anti-science nuts and made to jump through hoops.

If UVA had lost, we would have seen an avalanche of similar actions against scientists at other universities. Thankfully that is not going to happen.

We can probably expect the anti-science nuts to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. But in my opinion it's likely that the US Supreme Court will reject the appeal without comment, letting the Virginia ruling stand.

Attacking the personal lives of scientists is a tactic of big business to frighten people into not publishing information which is to the public good but harmful to the businesses and it is a shameful practise. It is often backed by politicians who have already been bought. The law is the last bastion of protection.

By Bob Bingham (not verified) on 19 Apr 2014 #permalink