The Corner

Mumbo-Jumbo for Beginners

A propos the big campaign here to fight off Michael Mann’s assault on free speech, several readers have asked me directly and also inquired in comments on NR’s fundraising post below what the appeals court judges’ ruling actually means in English. I agree that it’s helpful, when one is soliciting donations for a legal campaign, to provide an update on how the battle’s going, so I don’t know why one of NR’s editorial staff could not have posted the court order with an accompanying explanation. But what it means is this:

  1. Dr Michael Mann’s lawyer, John Williams, filed a fraudulent complaint falsely representing his client as a Nobel Laureate, and accusing us of the hitherto unknown crime of defaming a Nobel Laureate.
  2. After Charles C W Cooke and others exposed Dr Mann’s serial misrepresentation of himself as a Nobel Prize winner, Mann’s counsel decided to file an amended complaint with the Nobel falsehood removed.
  3. Among her many staggering incompetences, DC Superior Court judge Natalia Combs-Greene then denied NR’s motion to dismiss the fraudulent complaint while simultaneously permitting Mann’s lawyers to file an amended complaint.
  4. The appellate judges have now tossed out anything relating to Mann’s original fraudulent complaint, including Judge Combs-Greene’s unbelievably careless ruling in which the obtuse jurist managed to confuse the defendants, and her subsequent ruling in which she chose to double-down on her own stupidity. Anything with Combs-Greene’s name on it has now been flushed down the toilet of history.
  5. So everyone is starting afresh with a new judge, a new complaint from the plaintiff, and new motions to dismiss from the defendants. That’s the good news.
  6. The bad news is that Mann’s misrepresentation of himself as a Nobel Laureate and Combs-Greene’s inept management of her case means that all parties have racked up significant six-figure sums just to get back to square one. In a real courthouse – in London, Toronto, Dublin, Singapore, Sydney – Dr Mann would be on the hook for what he has cost all the parties through his fraudulent complaint. But, this being quite the most insane “justice system” I have ever found myself in, instead the costs of the plaintiff’s vanity, his lawyer’s laziness and the judge’s incompetence must apparently be borne by everyone.

Readers will recall that I often say about free-speech cases and similar thought-crime suits that “the process is the punishment” — not any eventual verdict. The above bollocks on stilts (as they say in Britain) is a textbook example.

And, on that cheery note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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