Judge who ruled (mostly) against Cuccinelli kept quiet about a conflict of interest

Ad hominem criticisms are touchy matters: they can get personal and irrelevant very quickly, and as such can badly distract from the issue at hand.  One must be very careful with them, and make sure any to be used are, in fact, germane.

I say this because (as you, dear readers, may have guessed) I am about to engage in one against retired Judge Paul Peatross – the jurist who recently ruled in the matter of Ken Cuccinelli’s Climategate probe of UVa and Michael Mann.  For the most part, Peatross’ ruling was bad news.  Although he did leave open a road for Cuccinelli to press on, he all but stated he thought Cuccinelli couldn’t win.  Lefty blogs have been rejoicing ever since.

Yesterday, though, Chris Horner noted something about His Honor Mr. Peatross that put the entire thing in a new and different light (Big Govt., emphasis in original):

 Before the hearing commenced Peatross, substituting for the vacationing chief judge, cited his wife’s 1982 degree in environmental science from UVA – oddly, he then said “but not in global warming” — as part of a rather spare recitation of why he was hearing of this case (which he attested he had never heard about until reading the briefs that morning. A prominent case in the local, state and national news assigned to his old court! This man takes his retirement seriously…), and articulating his history so that counsel might decide whether he carried any conflict such that he should not hear the University’s motion.

That fact of her 1982 degree from Mann’s former Department, apparently, was relevant. Okay. But…

The fact that the judge’s wife had in fact previously worked in that Department of Environmental Sciences — the very Department that stands to suffer should he have ruled in favor of the Attorney General – was somehow not worth disclosing to counsel.

I only learned of this after the hearing by others who had also worked at the same time Ms. Peatross did, in messages expressing astonishment that her husband would decide such a matter given the obvious appearance of an inability to objectively hear it.

Also not worth disclosing was that Ms. Peatross’s relationships go much deeper, being, e.g., lauded for her role in producing a book edited by the Department’s then-chairman during Mann’s alleged hijinks, as well as, it appears, at least two of his papers.

Now, to be completely accurate, it is an open question whether Ms. Peatross worked for the Department of Environmental Sciences, or simply in the building, physically (which I am told with no doubts that she did), for one of two particular former colleagues of Mann’s (and one supervisor at the relevant times) in their consultancies. The latter response, if it were the case, would beg other questions about mixing research and consulting. Which is to say, there is no good answer to the question. Which may be why the University refused to answer it when I asked. Four times.

So, we have a judge who is married to a woman who worked in the same University Department that employed Mann – either as a direct employee of the Department or as part of a consultancy of a colleague of Mann – and thus whose career and credibility would be directly affected by the case over which he presides . . . and he doesn’t tell anyone.

I’d call that germane.

I’m also far more certain that Cuccinelli will not only take the road Judge Peatross left him, but also appeal the parts of the ruling that did not go his way.  Given the information above, he really has no choice, IMHO.

Cross-posted to VV

5 Responses to Judge who ruled (mostly) against Cuccinelli kept quiet about a conflict of interest

  1. Cytotoxic says:

    Hmmm….weak. I don’t buy much of the AGW either, but I think Cucenilini has overextended himself on a witch hunt.

  2. Charles says:

    You would be hard pressed to find any educated or professional person in Albemarle County who does not have one or more connections to the University of Virginia. It’s not at all clear that the judge’s wife — even if everything you say is true — would in any manner be affected by the resolution of a dispute over a civil investigative demand. It would take substantially more than what is mentioned above to require recusal.

  3. Snapple says:

    Cuccinelli’s father was a lobbyist with the American Gas Association. He now is affiliated with a company that gave Cuccinelli’s campaign 96,000 dollars.

    From the description, it may be that the father’s clients are “European” gas companies. I have been writing the AG office and asking what is going on here, but they won’t answer.

    It may be that the father’s clients are Russian gas companies, but it is difficult to be certain, and the AG office doesn’t say.


    The Russian government and the Russian gas companies are sponsoring denialist propaganda, and Cuccinelli is following the Russian line on global warming; however, recently the Russian leaders have affirmed global warming. They used to say it was a “trick.”


    Personally, I think Cuccinelli’s ties to the gas lobby should be investigated. It may be that our AG office is an outpost of the Russian petrostate’s foreign operations.

  4. Snapple says:

    I am Republican and voted for Cuccinelli. He is taking money from his dad–who may have “European” gas clients—and the AG office won’t respond to my questions about this possible conflict of interest.

    I have written W. Russell, who appeared in court against UVA, but W. Russell won’t answer my questions.

    I study Russian propaganda about global warming. All these denialists and Cuccinelli sound exactly like the Kremlin-sponsored media outlets.

    After the fires, the Russian media began saying global warming was real, but that may be because our NASA scientists were helping locate those fires. The government didn’t want to talk trash about the “plots” of our “greedy” scientists because of all the help they were getting.

    These Russian firms are usually partly government-owned. They all collaborate with the foreign influence operations of the government.

    Energy companies in the US sponsor denialist propaganda, but the Russian government/energy companies do too.

    I get my science from science organizations, not the Kremlin and fossil fuel companies.

  5. D.J. McGuire says:

    Oh dear, not the Russian theory again.

    Perhaps you didn’t pay attention, but Russia was one of the very few industrialized nations that had an interest in passing and enforcing Kyoto (their 1990s collapse meant they would have met the carbon limits – and then some). They could have practically cornered the carbon permit market. Then again, I can’t expect much in rational thought from a fellow who throws around the “denialist” label. Was that 1010Global movie your fantasy?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers

%d bloggers like this: