The supreme court of Virginia on Friday ruled in favor of a prominent climate scientist, blocking a two-year bid by state officials to get access to his university emails and grant materials.
The case was brought by state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, a skeptic of global warming, against the University of Virginia where well known climate scientist Michael Mann taught from 1999 to 2005.
Cuccinelli had tried to obtain Mann's communications relating to grants he received to conduct climate science research, alleging there may have been data manipulated to show a rise in global temperatures linked to fossil fuel use.
The Union of Concerned Scientists hailed the ruling and said Cuccinelli was part of a "small but vocal minority in a pointless and costly investigation."
"We applaud the high court for reaffirming that Mr Cuccinelli didn't have a legal leg to stand on in his pursuit of Mann's and other scientists' private correspondence," said Michael Halpern, program manager for the UCS scientific integrity program.
"The university should be commended for its courage in standing up to the attorney general to ensure Virginia will remain a safe place for scientific research, even when elected officials don't like the results."