A Prince William circuit court judge judge ruled last week that a FOIA request by the American Tradition Institute for the emails of former UVA climate scientist Michael Mann should be granted.
I wasn’t surprised by the ruling inasmuch as FOIA requests for information produced on state computers are usually acceded to by public institutions.
In fact, the argument between the FOIA-ers and the FOIA-ed more often focuses on the cost the institution says that it is incurring to respond than on the requirement that it turn over the materials in the first place.
But there is something remarkable here.
The courts were more favorably disposed to a simple FOIA request for the emails than to the ask made by Attorney General Cuccinelli as part of a fraud investigation.
It’s amazing how much time and money was spent defending principles of academic freedom and resisting the AG’s request when the Prince William judgment seems to imply that any citizen in the Commonwealth has the right to ask the university for the same information.
Taken together, the two court rulings appear to place the Attorney General in the unique position of possibly being the only individual among 8 million Virginians who cannot request Mann’s emails.
Interestingly, the Prince William essentially returns the case to where it began
When Delegate Bob Marshall issued a FOIA requesting Mann’s email and was informed that these could no longer be accessed.
Hurricane season’s just beginning.