On July 19, DC Court Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene rejected multiple motions to dismiss climate scientist Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit against the National Review (NR), the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), NR writer Mark Steyn, and CEI writer Rand Simberg. On July 24, NR and Steyn submitted a motion asking to reconsider her refusal to dismiss based on what NR and Steyn claim are “material mistakes of fact.” S&R has been investigating the accuracy of three of the claims made in the NR/Steyn motion to reconsider: that Judge Combs Greene had erroneously conflated actions of NR/Steyn with those of CEI/Simberg, that NR/Steyn had not been critical of Mann’s research over a period of years, and that these two claimed mistakes mean that NR/Steyn might not have been aware that they were making false claims against Mann. After reviewing the public record, S&R has found that while the first claim is likely false, the other two claims are clearly false.
National Review has called for investigations into alleged misconduct by Mann
According to the the NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration, Judge Combs Greene supposedly misattributed requests by CEI/Simberg to investigate Mann’s research conduct to NR/Steyn.
the Order conflates the conduct of co-defendant [CEI] with that of National Review and Steyn, who never petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate or otherwise pressured the agency concerning [Mann’s] research. (emphasis original)
The very specific language of the prior quote leaves open the possibility that either NR or Steyn could have called for investigations in general or other specific investigations such as those conducted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the National Science Foundation (NSF), or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) while still being factually true. Only the EPA investigation is excluded by this language, and as such it comes close to qualifying as an “equivocation” logical fallacy. As such, S&R’s investigation searched for examples of public investigation requests for both general and specific investigations by NR writers or Steyn himself. S&R was unable to find any examples calling for specific investigations, lending some support to this NR/Steyn claim.
However, while S&R did not discover any examples, Mann’s legal team did find several of varying strength, as seen in Mann’s response to the NR/Steyn motion to reconsider. The strongest example is in an NR article written by Candace de Russy titled “Your Stimulus Dollars Lavished on Climate-Alarmist Prof.” where de Russy writes about the Penn State investigation into Mann’s conduct. At the end of the article, de Russy writes:
In these crushing economic times, is it too much to ask that university authorities, our political leaders, and the press jump on this case with a bit more rigor?
While this is not a call for a specific body to investigate Mann’s research, it is a call for thorough investigations by “university authorities, our political leaders, and the press.” As such, it demonstrates that, while the specific claim vis a vis the EPA investigation may be true, NR/Steyn did, in fact, call for investigations of Michael Mann’s conduct.
National Review and Mark Steyn have accused Mann of misconduct since 2009
The NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration also claims that Judge Combs Greene confused NR/Steyn with CEI/Simberg again when she took into account “all of the statements and accusations over the years” against Mann. NR/Steyn are essentially claiming that both CEI and Simberg have a history of attacking Mann, but that neither NR nor Steyn has a similar history. S&R’s investigation turned up 10 different NR articles and three Steyn articles going back to 2009 that disprove this claim. Note that most, if not all, of the allegations against Mann in the examples below have been investigated repeatedly and found to be without merit.
Examples of National Review criticisms of Mann
- Global Warming: Science or Religion by Sterling Burnett on July 21, 2009. This post makes a number of indirect criticisms of Mann, who is the only named scientist in the article, and implies that he and other climate scientists are “fanatics” who, by supposedly making unprovable claims, engage in “sly but abjectly dishonest” activities.
- Mann-made Warming Confirmed by Chris Horner on September 28, 2009. This post contains a brief history of Mann’s supposed errors and alleged cherry-picking to produce the MBH99 “hockey-stick.” “The conclusion is inescapable. The tree ring data was hand-picked to get the desired result. (emphasis added)”
- Climategate: Where Are We? by Iain Murray on November 30, 2009. Mann is explicitly mentioned as a “trickster” (a reference to a Climategate email that Penn State looked at specifically during their investigation) and is thus included in Murray’s “perpetrators.”
“There have been attempts to muddy the waters with assertions that data were publicly available all along (ha!) and the insinuation that anyone using “stolen” emails is somehow more immoral than the perpetrators of the three frauds outlined above. (emphasis added)”
- Peer Pressure by the NR Editors on December 1, 2009.
Phil Jones of CRU, Michael Mann of Penn State University, and other leaders of the climate cartel discussed statistical tricks they used to “hide the decline” of atmospheric temperatures. Other data were fudged to cover up warm periods that didn’t fit their theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). (emphasis added)
- Groupthink and the Global-Warming Industry by Jonah Goldberg on December 3, 2009.
CRU scientists discuss with friendly outside colleagues, including Penn State University’s Michael Mann, how to manipulate the data they want to show the world, and how to hide the often-flawed data they don’t. (emphasis added)
- Climategate: You should be steamed by Greg Pollowitz on January 4, 2010. “If only scientists had taken Dale Carnegie courses, the fraud and sloppy science of Climategate would never have happened. (emphasis added)”
- Liberals and the Scientific Method by Mona Charen on February 12, 2010. The reference to Penn State in the following quote implies Mann’s involvement.
The Climategate e-mails from Penn State and East Anglia University were not trivial revelations. They involved deception, intimidation, and manipulation of records by two of the leading research institutions whose data form the backbone of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (emphasis added)
- Liberty, Tyranny, and the Globe by Mark Levin on April 22, 2010. “The true believers used to cite Mann’s hockey-stick curve as conclusive evidence of man-made global warming. The graph has been demonstrated a fraud… (emphasis added)”
- Global Warming — RIP? by Victor Davis Hanson on October 27, 2011. While Mann is not mentioned specifically, he was at the time and remains one of the world’s top climate scientists and is one of the, if not the, most investigated climate scientist as a result of Climategate. Thus this passage refers to Mann indirectly.
Corruption within the climate-change industry explains some of the sudden turnoff. “Climategate” — the unauthorized 2009 release of private e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom — revealed that many of the world’s top climate scientists were knee-deep in manipulating scientific evidence to support preconceived conclusions and personal agendas.
- Scientists Behaving Badly by Jim Lacey on November 28, 2011.
Virtually the entire warmist edifice is built around a small, tightly knit coterie of persons (one hesitates to refer to folks with so little respect for the scientific method as scientists) willing to falsify data and manipulate findings; or, to put it bluntly, to lie in order to push a political agenda not supported by empirical evidence. (emphasis added)
In fact, McIntyre’s work was crucial in proving that Mann’s infamous “hockey stick graph” — the heart of the United Nations’ IPCC-3 report — was a fraud.
Examples of Mark Steyn criticisms of Mann
- Climate Science and the Peer-Review Consensus Forgery on November 30, 2009. Steyn criticizes Mann and Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) for allegedly manipulating peer review in order to keep poorly refereed papers out of the IPCC, and Steyn agreed with a Wall Street Journal headline about forgery.
- The science of global warming on December 3, 2009.
The Settled Scientists have wholly corrupted the process of “peer review.” (emphasis added)
Phil Jones, director of the CRU, writing to Michael Mann, creator (le mot juste) of the now discredited “hockey stick” graph… (emphasis original)
Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket.
- The emperor’s new carbon credits on December 17, 2009.
The famous hockey stick graph created by Dr. Michael Mann played a critical role in persuading millions of people we’re all gonna fry…. It took two dogged Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, to demolish the hockey-stick fraud (emphasis added)”
In addition to these various examples, there are many more that are similar to the second-to-last NR example above – where Mann is not mentioned specifically, but where the “hockey-stick” is used as a proxy for Mann, or where groups of which Mann would be a member are accused of scientific misconduct such as data manipulation. Whether such examples are sufficient for a court order to be based upon them is beyond the purview of S&R’s investigation.
These lists are by no means exhaustive – they stop in 2011 as the articles published in 2012 and 2013 are dominated by those related to Mann’s lawsuit and NR/Steyn’s responses. There are likely many other examples published by NR and Steyn that are not included above. Regardless, however, the public record demonstrates that both NR and Steyn both had at least a three-year history of criticizing Mann both directly and indirectly before publishing the article that provoked Mann’s defamation lawsuit.
National Review and Mark Steyn were aware of Mann investigations’ results
The NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration also claimed that Judge Combs Greene’s logic was flawed. The motion to reconsider essentially argues that a) there is no evidence that NR/Steyn had ever called for an investigation, b) their awareness of the results of those investigations was not demonstrated in the Court Order, and thus c) there is no evidence of actual malice.
This line of argument is not only based on arguably false information, it’s also illogical. As mentioned above, Mann’s response to the NR/Steyn motion to reconsider provides five different examples, each of which could be interpreted as a call for an investigation into Mann’s conduct. But even if those examples are ultimately rejected by Judge Combs Greene, the NR/Steyn motion essentially argues that there is only one way that NR and Steyn could be aware of the details of the investigations’ results – if NR and Steyn had called for the investigations. Given the media coverage of each of the various investigations, this is an untenable claim to make for both NR and Steyn.
S&R investigated this claim as well and found that NR and Steyn were both aware of the investigations and were very likely aware of the investigations’ detailed results. As with above, the examples below include claims that have been investigated, in some cases repeatedly, and found to be without merit.
- Climategate and the Scientific Elite by Iain Murray on May 26, 2010. “Few members of the public have accepted the findings of the inquiries exonerating the scientists; most dismiss them as whitewashes. (emphasis added)”
- Climategate Continues by Andrew Montford and Harold Ambler on May 24, 2012.
the specific issue of the suppressed record appears to have largely been passed over by the panel, and Briffa’s explanation, like so many others given to the Climategate inquiries, appears to have been accepted without question. (emphasis added)
However, their machinations have only succeeded in bringing renewed attention to their questionable science and ugly behind-the-scenes shenanigans, reigniting hope that more complete and more independent investigations — on both sides of the Atlantic — will yet be performed. (emphasis added)
- Senator Inhofe Discusses His Call for a DOJ Climategate Investigation by Greg Pollowitz on February 24, 2010. This is an excerpt of an interview of Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) by Neil Cavuto, excerpted extensively, including the following:
[W]e have the minority report that we put together which shows that climate-gate, fixing the science, cooking the science, actually took place.
We have it all documented. And people are being investigated right now (emphasis added).
- ‘Climategate Inquiry Glosses Over the Facts’ by Greg Pollowitz on July 20, 2010. This is an excerpt from a commentary at the Washington Examiner by NR writer Iain Murray, and Murray’s quoted details, while arguably both cherry-picked and distorted, reveal that he was quite aware of the contents of all of the Climategate investigations:
Yet the [UK Parliament] hearings did not include testimony from the most severe critics of the hockey stick graphic, such as Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who could have explained exactly why the e-mails did suggest impropriety.
Yet Lord Oxburgh’s panel handed down a short report which did not examine the quality of the science at all. The panel simply reviewed a selection of CRU papers — selected by the UEA itself — and pronounced itself satisfied that the scientific process was fair and proper.
The final review, conducted by former bureaucrat Sir Muir Russell, was compromised from the start. Its chief scientist, while purporting to be independent, was a former staff member of the CRU. Once again, it failed to interview the chief critics.This panel did not examine the other e-mails on the CRU server, as it was supposed to do.
- Climategate Whitewash by Iain Murray on April 1, 2010. “Unsurprisingly, the U.K.’s parliamentary investigation into Climategate whitewashed the implications for climate science, although they did wag a disapproving finger at the University of East Anglia for being naughty about the Freedom of Information Act.”
- The Climategate Graywash by Greg Pollowitz on July 12, 2010. This is a large excerpt from the Financial Post: “The third British investigation into the Climategate scandal — led by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell — amounts, at best, to a greywash.”
- by Greg Pollowitz on February 10, 2010. This is a press release from Sen. Inhofe’s office:
Penn State’s internal inquiry found further investigation is warranted to determine if Dr. Mann “engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”
“As the University moves to the next phase of its investigation, I believe the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation should also commence an investigation to examine possible violations of federal laws and policies governing taxpayer-funded research.”
- Lord Jones is Indisposed by Mark Steyn on December 2, 2009. “The reviled “skeptics” and “deniers” have forced Prof. Phil Jones in East Anglia to step down “temporarily” and prompted Penn State to investigate Prof. Michael Mann.”
These examples demonstrate that both NR and Steyn were aware of ongoing investigations, and that NR was certainly aware of the results of at least one of those investigations. Furthermore, it is not realistic to imagine that NR cultivated a culture where authors writing about the same subject (climate change/global warming) were so isolated from each other that they never discussed the results of the various investigations among themselves. As such, it is virtually certain that NR and Steyn were aware of the investigations’ results and thus cannot credibly claim ignorance of those same results.
S&R investigated three of the claims made in the National Review/Mark Steyn motion for reconsideration. Simple web searches demonstrated that two of the three claims investigated were clearly false, while a more in-depth investigation found that the third claim (that NR/Steyn had not called for investigations into Mann) was plausible. However, Mann’s legal response to the NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration addressed the third claim and argued that NR and Steyn had both called for investigations following the illegal publication of private emails known as Climategate. As would be expected, Mann’s legal response also addressed the various other claims that S&R did not investigate, such as NR/Steyn’s presentation of a new First Amendment-based argument for dismissal.
Generally speaking, judges react poorly to baldly stated and easily disproved false claims made in legal documents. While S&R’s reading of Judge Combs Greene’s original order finds no reason to believe that she will react any different to the NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration, only time will tell.
Categories: Environment/Nature, Politics/Law/Government, Science/Technology
This is an excellent summary: thank you. I have been following the subjects involved for several years (around eight, I suppose), and I have yet to find any evidence “climategate” happened.
If the two cults (NR, CEI) ever told the truth, the judge would immediately rule in Dr. Mann’s favor.
@David Rice Climategate did happen. Watergate was a crime, a break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters and a cover-up. Likewise Climategate was a crime … a theft of emails that were then lied about and used to demonize not just scientists but the whole scientific enterprise, the motive being greed at the expense of humanity.
I would prefer that NR and CEI not be referred to as “cults,” if you don’t mind. I wrote a post about how referring to industrial climate disruption as a “religion” was incorrect, and much of the same logic applies to both NR and CEI.
There is much wrong with what the write about climate, but that only makes them incorrect, not cultists.
The whole conservative enterprise is based on glorifying a lack of scruples and treating it as a virtue. Tragically, Martin Luther King Jr.’s view of the arc of justice was mistaken; the invisible hand carries a torch that will sear human civilization.
I find the complainants behaviour now deeply disingenuous (because continuing to believe climate scientists are guilty of fraud now requires the existence of a global conspiracy of unprecedented scale [that the Pentagon is either party to or a victim of]). Nevertheless, I find it hard to avoid reaching the conclusion that, in the beginning, the complainants really did believe their own propaganda.
Really, Martin? I find it about as credible as believing that mob lawyers really do believe that their clients are innocent.
Yes, Kanspaugh. They are no better than James Delingpole – someone who is sufficiently scientifically-illiterate and ideologically-prejudiced (as he himself happily admits) to really believe scientists are corrupt.
What constitutes sincere belief is an interesting question. I’m scientifically illiterate myself (an English PhD, alas!), yet have never been swayed by the denialist arguments. Even though I am unable to do the science, I put my faith in the 97% of climate scientists who tell me that anthropogenic global warming is real and a real threat to our species. Those who don’t trust this overwhelming consensus must, as you say, have an ideological axe to grind.
“Generally speaking, judges react poorly to baldly stated and easily disproved false claims made in legal documents. While S&R’s reading of Judge Combs Greene’s original order finds no reason to believe that she will react any different to the NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration, only time will tell”
Plaintiff has asked the judge to award fees and costs as these motions are frivolous and dilatory. It will be most interesting to see if the Plaintiff gets costs for these.
Don’t know why you are claiming that they claimed they don’t know the results of the various investigations. Far as I know, they made no such claim. Their claim was that they disagree with the results of the various investigations.
You’re right, NR/Steyn are not arguing they were unaware of the investigations’ results. I’m saying that this is what their argument amounts to. Here’s how that works, in detail.
In her original order, Judge Combs Greene wrote
Simplifying Judge Combs Greene’s logic, we get the following:
In the NR/Steyn motion for reconsideration, they argue that #2 and #3 are “errors of fact” that destroy the logical chain that follows. And NR/Steyn has asked Judge Combs Greene to admit that #2 and #3 are sufficiently serious that she should reverse her prior decision.
Your comment pertains to the the NR/Steyn argument about point #3 above: “Their claim was that they disagree with the results of the various investigations.” The problem with this is that Judge Combs Greene found that the unanimity of the investigations’ results indicates that Mann’s work is not “fraudulent” as NR an Steyn have repeatedly claimed. If Mann’s work has been repeatedly “proven as accurate,” then the only way NR and Steyn can escape the charge of “reckless disregard” for the truth is to be ignorant of the existence and/or results of the investigations.
So while NR and Steyn are not claiming that they are ignorant of the investigations’ results, their argument in the motion for reconsideration only works if they were ignorant. The links above demonstrate that they were not ignorant, thus they have demonstrated reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of their claims, and thus there is no logical reason for Judge Combs Greene to reverse her order based on this faulty argument.
Got it. You’re saying because the judge made a brainless argument (since anyone who read the actual posts is aware that the defendants knew about the investigations [and ridiculed them]), everyone else is tying themselves into knots working within the judge’s bizarro world. And if they fail to do it just right, the judge is justified in what, exactly?
Sorry. For anyone who cares about justice, or freedom of speech, it should be pretty clear what’s happening here. This is a frivolous lawsuit if I ever saw one, and I don’t see how you can in good conscience do anything but ridicule the judge. Instead you have a whole post working out that these political blogs definitely did _criticize their opponents_, called them a bunch of _frauds_ (!), and _didn’t accept the judgment of investigations that they didn’t trust_ (:O). Anyone can find exactly the same type of high crimes on the Huffington Post every single day, and nothing is wrong with it. Unbelievable that this kind of nonsense has any place in a court of law in America.
Which piece is the “brainless” part of Judge Combs Greene’s argument? It seems pretty solid to me – Mann has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the UK Parliament, Lord Oxford, the Independent Climate Change Email Review, Penn State’s internal inquiry and investigation, a related but more extensive National Science Foundation investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Commerce. Not all were equally well done, but the fact that all these different investigations all found the same thing – that Mann’s work was not fraudulent – matters a great deal. The only investigation that suggested anything was seriously fishy with Mann’s work has since been shown to be a politically motivated sham (the Wegman Report).
Add to this the fact that the hockey stick has been replicated, also repeatedly, using multiple different proxies, different statistical techniques, and by different research teams all around the world, it’s also reasonable to say that Mann’s science was perhaps a bit naive in 1998 and 1999, but hardly fraudulent. And again, the only scientific research that has shown anything seriously fishy with Mann’s work has since been shown to be based on a tiny sliver of the actual data, and specifically the tiny sliver that happened to cast doubt on Mann’s work – an egregious example of cherry-picking that has since been countered thoroughly in the scientific literature.
At this point, Mann’s science and conduct have been so thoroughly investigated that there are only two possibilities – that there is some Illuminati-like cabal manipulating two governments and at least one major research university, or the attacks on Mann are misplaced.
When a person has had a string of failed relationships, there comes a point when that person finally realizes that the common denominator is the person him/herself. That’s the point we’re at with all the investigations of Mann’s conduct – it’s time to realize that the only common denominator is that Mann has been found innocent every single time.
Maybe, just maybe he actually is innocent….
Got it. You’re saying:
— that you don’t trust the results of multiple investigations because they generally reached conclusions that suggest your prejudice against climate science is unjustified; and
— that the only way to justify your prejudice to yourself is to add everyone that disagrees with you to an ever-growing list of co-conspirators trying to curtail your freedom.
As you say, it is unbelievable that “this kind of nonsense has any place in a court of law in America” but this nonsense only became necessary because some people allowed their ideological prejudices to dictate which science they will accept and which they won’t.
When David Aaronovitch gets round to writing a second edition of his excellent book, Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History, I really do hope he will add a chapter about people who prefer to believe that climate change is a hoax, scam, false alarm (etc)… rather than accept that the vast majority of genuine experts have concluded that we can no longer afford to ignore (or deny) that humanity is the primary cause of the problem.
The peevishness of miker613’s response to Mann’s lawsuit mirrors that of CEI and NRO. It’s like the response of adolescent boys who claim they can’t see the difference btw toilet-papering their best friend’s front yard and firebombing a local church. “We was just funnin! Why you got to get all RED about it?” These bully boys have done their best to destroy Mann’s career and his life, all because they don’t like the findings of his perfectly sound scientific research. It’s time for them to be taken to the woodshed.
What part of the investigators had skin in the game regarding the results of the investigations don’t you understand? Millions of grant money was at stake. “hide the decline” and other manipulations throughout the cottage industry of “research” corrupted important work. Every investigative body benefited by “proving” Mann innocent either by protecting money or power.
Bill – I analyzed the money involved in this post. In 2008, the total global spending on climate research (of which the vast majority was for satellites built and launched by the US) was $3.8 billion. Global revenues in fossil-fuel related industries was $9 trillion, or about 2400x total climate spending. Global profits by fossil-fuel related industries was about $371 billion. If you want to claim that money is a corrupting influence on the climate scientists, then you’ll need to explain how the vastly greater money in fossil fuel related industries isn’t that much more corrupting on scientists and engineers involved in those industries.
I also looked at the money that Mann brought into Penn State in this post and found that Mann’s contributions to the Penn State coffers was 0.06% of all grants between 2006 and 2009. Penn State had no fiduciary interest in protecting Mann for such a paltry sum, especially when doing so would result in damaging the university’s reputation and thus lead to lower grants in the future. As we saw, if Penn State was going to be motivated by money to protect anyone, it was the
cash cowfootball program.
Your suggestion that the UK Parliament somehow benefited by protecting Mann strikes me as highly unlikely. Similarly with the Oxford and ICCER/Muir reviews. They had no vested interest in protecting Mann, a climate scientist in another country working for a prestigious university that might actually be made less of a competitor to the UK’s own UEA if they found Mann had committed misconduct.
The NSF OIG review decided that they weren’t thrilled with part of the Penn State review, re-investigated that part themselves, and still came to the exact same conclusion – that Mann was innocent of the various allegations against him. There were critics of Mann who trumpeted the fact that the OIG was headed by a climate “skeptic” – right until the OIG ruled that Mann had done nothing wrong. Then those same people (demonstrating themselves to be “deniers” rather than “skeptics”) called the OIG investigation a whitewash too.
The Department of Commerce was asked to look at Mann by Senator Inhofe and they found nothing irregular. The EPA did the same thing. And in at least three of the investigations (UK Parliament, ICCER, and NSF OIG), Mann’s critics were consulted and/or interviewed – Steve McIntyre admitted so after the NSF OIG report was published.
Multiple investigations, performed over the course of 18 months or so by dozens of different people working in two different countries and for multiple governmental bodies all came to the exact same conclusions – that there was no evidence of scientific misconduct by Mann.
What would it take for you to accept the results of an investigation, Bill? Would you accept the results if the panel was composed of McIntyre, Montford, Watts, Inhofe, Sensenbrenner, and the like? Because that’s the kind of panel it would take to find Mann guilty of research misconduct after all these other investigations have unanimously found him innocent. But if that’s what it’ll take, if you’re only willing to accept the results when you agree with them, then by definition you are not a skeptic.
As I said in response to miker613
Which one are you, Bill?
Billy boy seems to think it is more likely that the 97% of climate scientists who say they believe that anthropogenic global warming is a reality are all shameless prostitutes, claiming to believe the opposite of what they know to be true to score grant money, than that the 3% who reject the view that man is causing the atmosphere to warm through the burning of fossil fuels are energy company shills and / or right-wing anti-regulatory zealots — even though a passing glimpse at their bios (consider denialist stalwart Willie Soon, for example) reveals that they are indeed on oil company payrolls and/or are rabid free market true believers. Sad.
For the relevant 19 December 2013 ruling by the DC Court of Appeals, see http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/order_20131223144647.pdf (Short version: Combs Greene’s rulings have been tossed and the case is back to square one.)
I’ve read that order, and that’s not what is says. It first orders the Clerk to file the ACLU’s, the media organizations’, and the District of Columbia’s friend of the court (amicus curiae) briefs in support of CEI, National Review, Steyn, and Simberg (and thus in opposition to Mann’s lawsuit). It then orders the Clerk to file Mann’s opposition to those various briefs and the appeals.
And then it dismisses the appeals as moot because Mann filed an updated complaint, Judge Frederick H. Weisberg (who took over the case from Combs-Greene when she effectively retired) approved it, CEI et al challenged it, and Judge Weisberg hasn’t ruled on it yet.
So Combs-Greene’s rulings, and Judge Weisberg’s apparent agreement with them in since September, remain unchallenged. Weisberg’s ruling on the amended complaint may signal a shift from Combs-Greene’s legal opinions, but your “short version” is a significant overstatement.
[Edit: As is Watts’ similar claim. And I always suggest reading the original documents over someone’s interpretation of them – you get to form your own opinions that way instead of having someone else form them for you.]