About the defamation case, Mann is a globally known expert on climate change and has published research that pointed to human activities as a cause for global warming. His work was discouraged by some scientists, but with supporting investigation done by Penn State cleared him of everything.
But, this didn’t stop criticism. In a blog, Rand Siberg said that Penn State had ‘covered wrongdoing” done by Mann and referred to Mann as “Jerry Sandusky of climate change” for “molesting and torturing information in service of politicized science.” (Sandusky is a former Penn State football coach who molested children)
Mark Steyn grabbed the opportunity and took the topic to write a blog on National Review Online, with a clear intention of creating awareness regarding the identified issue. In his post, he said that he would not extend the example given by Rand Siberg, but Mann is behind the false climate-change studies, and researches and investigations clearing him from all the wrongdoings were just a cover-up.
Mann got offended, and it was indeed offensive. He demanded both the websites, CEI and National Review to apologize. Instead, national review, in return published another response by their writer, Rich Lowry, with the title “GET LOST.” The writer refused to take back the work and said by fraudulent and falsework, they didn’t mean criminal work, but it meant that his work was dumb and bogus.
Mann sued the company. The editor and publication company tried getting the lawsuit dismissed by the District’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Act. SLAPP law is a way to provide people with a way to defend their public speaking right when meritless lawsuits are filed against them.
However, the District Court of Appeals said, the investigation could not find any false claim at this very point, and in light of less evidence provided by the publisher and editor, the lawsuit can go forward.
Alito noted the initial status of the case in his opposition by the Supreme Court’s refusal. He wrote to the author and publication that it might be reviewed later if the ultimate outcome below is opposing. He added, “But requiring a free speech claimant to undergo a trial after a ruling that may be constitutionally flawed is no small burden.”
Alito further said, “A journalist who prevails after the trial in a defamation case will still have been required to back all the burdens of investigation and may cost him a hefty amount of fee for a lawyer. Those prospects may deter the uninhibited expression of views that would contribute to healthy public debate.”
According to Alito, the court has protected expression as they would generally, especially on issues of public controversy such as climate change.
“Politicians, students, reports, and normal American people discuss different aspects of climate change daily from its causes, extent, and urgency to its consequences and policies regarding it. The main purpose of the constitutional protection of freedom of speech is to make sure that every individual gets a chance to express their views on anything”.