(SNews) – A federal judge has blocked California’s new medical “misinformation” law on First Amendment grounds and blasted the state’s lawmakers for pushing “nonsense.”
The new law came into effect on January 1 this year and penalizes doctors for sharing so-called “misinformation” about COVID-19.
It prohibits doctors from sharing their opinions with their patients if their advice is deemed to be “misinformation” by the Democrat-controlled state’s officials.
Doctors risk being penalized for “unprofessional conduct” if their advice is found to be “misinformation” or “disinformation,” which could result in their licenses being revoked.
The law was passed last year after it was signed by Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom.
The law has been challenged through separate lawsuits filed by two organizations and a group of doctors on the grounds of First Amendment violations.
They filed a motion at the US District Court of Sacramento to hold the law until the cases are concluded.
In a hearing, Senior Judge William Shubb described the law’s definition of misinformation as “nonsense.”
“Because AB 2098 [the misinformation law] implicates [plaintiff’s] First Amendment right to receive information, she has standing,” the court wrote.
“Vague statutes are particularly objectionable when they involve sensitive areas of First Amendment freedoms because they operate to inhibit the exercise of those freedoms,” the court added, referring to a 2001 case, California Teachers Association v. State Board of Education.
“When the challenged law implicates First Amendment rights, a facial challenge based on vagueness is appropriate.”
Judge Shubb, who was appointed by former President George H. W. Bush, granted the plaintiffs a hearing to challenge the law.
The court also blocked any enforcement of the law until the case is decided.
The law defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”
Shubb noted that “standard of care” is not a new principle, but argued, “contemporary scientific consensus” is.
According to Deputy Attorney General Kristin Liska, who is representing Gov. Gavin Newsom, a medical professional has to violate all three aspects of the definition of misinformation for punishment to be applicable; share misinformation, contradict scientific consensus, and go against the standard of care.
However, she refused to give examples of statements that would fit the definition.
Liska argues that it would depend on the circumstances.
Shubb then asked how she expects medical professionals to know what would violate the law.
She couldn’t answer.