Via – Fox News
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued a fiery defense of free speech Monday morning as the high court announced it would not hear an appeal from the conservative magazine National Review in a defamation case against it by liberal climate science professor Michael Mann.
Mann’s case against the magazine stems from his creation of the infamous “hockey stick graph” and a central role in the “Climategate” scandal — in which his employer, Penn State University, eventually cleared him of wrongdoing.
National Review published an op-ed that called his graph — which displays earth’s temperature increasing seemingly exponentially beginning right around the industrial revolution — “deceptive” and “fraudulent” over its substitution of certain types of data for thermometer readings for time periods before thermometers were available. The magazine called for an investigation into Mann and doubled down on its stance in subsequent writings.
Monday’s decision means Mann can continue his defamation suit against National Review, which argued that its articles criticizing his methodology were protected speech.
“If the speech in all these cases had been held to be unprotected, our Nation’s system of self-government would not have been seriously threatened,” Alito wrote after naming several recent cases in which the Supreme Court upheld controversial speech, including the trade name “F-U-C-T” for a clothing company. “But … the protection of even speech as trivial as a naughty trademark for jeans can serve an important purpose: It can demonstrate that this Court is deadly serious about protecting freedom of speech.”
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