As all the world knows, climate buffoon Michael Mann is suing Mark Steyn, National Review and others for disagreeing with him about global warming–not just disagreeing, but doing so in colorful language. As happens so often on the Left, Mann found himself losing the debate on a public issue of great importance. Rather than admit that he was wrong about the hockey stick–one of the most notorious errors, or frauds, in the history of science–he is trying to shut his opponents up through litigation.
Steyn was unhappy with how the lawsuit was going, so he dismissed the lawyers that were representing him and National Review and is now pro se. Rather than engage in further procedural maneuvering, Mark wants to fight out what he sees as the central issue–free speech–in the court of public opinion. So yesterday another shoe dropped: Mark served an answer and counterclaim against Mann in which he requested damages from the discredited scientist. You can read the pleading here. It is entertaining; it should be, Mark wrote it himself.
Are the causes of action in Steyn’s counterclaim valid? I won’t express a legal opinion here, but I do think that in the broader picture, Mark is on to something. There is zero chance that Mann’s lawsuit will ever result in a verdict in his favor. He can’t possibly satisfy the actual malice standard, even if you assume that the statements Steyn and others have made about Mann’s role in the global warming scam are potentially actionable. But that was never Mann’s purpose: his lawsuit was a political act, intended to suppress political debate. Steyn’s counterclaim, and his future conduct of his own defense, will join the battle where it counts.
That said, I still wish Mark would hire a lawyer.