ACE filed an amicus brief yesterday in the Supreme Court of Virginia in the case of American Tradition Institute v. the University of Virginia (U.Va.).
U.Va. has been engaged in legal proceedings for the past three years to protect various documents and emails relating to former U.Va. Professor Michael Mann’s climate change research, which was subject to attack by various activist organizations.
The commonwealth’s lower court ruled in favor of U.Va., finding that many of the records were protected by provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The plaintiffs then appealed the case to the state Supreme Court.
ACE’s brief, joined by six other associations, including the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on how academic freedom and the First Amendment are central to the protection of research and to the innovation essential to the nation’s economy.
It also argues that reversal of the lower court’s ruling would remove any incentive for those making Freedom of Information Act requests to be reasonable in their demands for documents, and the costs to public universities could escalate.