Federal Court Halts California Law Punishing Doctors for COVID ‘Misinformation’

Doctor's back (PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images)
PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

A federal court has issued a temporary stay against a California law that would punish doctors for providing alleged “misinformation” about COVID-19 — though even experts have been wrong about the pandemic.

As Breitbart News reported last year:

The bill, AB 2098, introduced in February, “would designate the dissemination or promotion of misinformation or disinformation related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or ‘COVID-19,’ as unprofessional conduct. The bill would require the board to consider specified factors prior to bringing a disciplinary action against a physician and surgeon. The bill would also make findings and declarations in this regard.”

According to one law firm that represents physicians in disciplinary proceedings in California, if a doctor is found to have committed professional misconduct, “the minimum penalty is a stayed revocation with 5 years of license probation, with a maximum penalty of revocation.”

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, a federal judge halted the implementation of the law on Wednesday because the scientific consensus on “misinformation” is simply too vague:

Judge William B. Schubb of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California granted the motion filed by a group of doctors for a preliminary injunction. Schubb said that, because the “scientific consensus” (on COVID, in this case) is ill-defined and vague, the physician plaintiffs in the lawsuitare “unable to determine if their intended conduct contradicts the scientific consensus, and accordingly ‘what is prohibited by the law.”

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, represents five physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California. The five doctors alleged the law, AB 2098, would be in violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Schubb said that it would be hard to determine which scientific conclusions are false, given that COVID-19 is “such a new and evolving area of scientific study.”

In the early stages of the pandemic, experts advised against wearing masks — then demanded that they be mandatory. Public health officials in California, including Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), urged the closing of beaches to deter crowds — then urged residents to take to the streets in large crowds for “Black Lives Matter” protests.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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