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Basketball legend John Stockton and attorney Rick Jaffe today appeared on “The Defender In-Depth” podcast to discuss their lawsuit against Washington State’s medical commission.

Stockton, who co-hosts the “Voices for Medical Freedom Podcast,” is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed March 7, with support from Children’s Health Defense, which also is a plaintiff in the case.

The lawsuit challenges the Washington Medical Commission’s right to discipline doctors for publicly opposing or criticizing official public health narratives.

Other plaintiffs include Dr. Richard Eggleston, Dr. Thomas T. Siler, Dr. Daniel Moynihan and approximately 60 yet-unnamed doctors facing disciplinary proceedings initiated against them by the commission.

Washington ‘the most aggressive state’ in disciplining doctors for their speech

Jaffe, who previously successfully challenged California’s medical misinformation law, told “The Defender In-Depth” that Washington is “the most aggressive state in the country for … trying to stop doctors from speaking out in public.”

He said the commission’s target is not doctor-patient speech, but public speech by doctors.

According to Jaffe, a July 2021 Federation of State Medical Boards press release instructing state medical boards nationwide to launch disciplinary actions against doctors who “generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation” triggered the commission’s disciplinary actions against doctors. Washington has since “filed about 60 cases against physicians.”

“What Washington State is doing is just outrageous,” Jaffe said, adding that there is no constitutional basis “to suppress the ideas of professionals to the public.”

Jaffe has represented doctors such as Eggleston in the commission’s disciplinary actions against them. But, he said, “We needed to come up with a different and a better strategy to attack the problem more globally,” referring to the new lawsuit.

Jaffe said what’s different about this case compared to other medical speech cases he has tried in recent years is that whereas those cases were “focused on the physician,” this case “is focused on the right of people to receive information.”

Referring to the decision to make Stockton the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Jaffe said he’s both “an advocate [and] a consumer of information, and he’s been a target of this whole COVID disinformation problem,” making him “the ideal lead plaintiff.”

‘I can’t stay silent’: Stockton’s son, father were injured by vaccines

Stockton said that even though he was once “on board” with childhood vaccinations, his stance changed after his son “reacted to the shots not once, but twice.” His son’s health was “severely impacted … for a long, long time,” he said.

Stockton’s father “went into sepsis three years in a row following the flu shot,” Stockton said.

“I started watching a little bit more critically what was going on with vaccines, and read and learned, and asked questions, and talked to other people, and so fast forward now 30 years … to COVID, I felt like I was already ready for it,” he said. “I kind of kicked myself for not having spoken out sooner.”

When Stockton publicly spoke out, he was castigated. He cited the example of his alma mater, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, which wouldn’t let him attend basketball games unless he wore a mask.

“I was kind of enjoying not being out there in the forefront of anything,” Stockton said. “But things happened, and now I feel like I can’t stay silent.”

Stockton said, “Washington state is ground zero … All of COVID started in Washington state with 80 elderly people in the Bellevue elderly home [who] died.” Since then, he said, “Washington continues to lead the way.”

Stockton said the state “historically has been a test market” for companies performing market research of their products. “There’s not that many folks up there, word doesn’t get out much, so I’ve always felt that Washington is a test market, and this is no exception.”

“The people that have money in our state, the big boys, what influence do they have? I don’t know,” Stockton said.

State medical boards ‘stacked against people’ who oppose ‘mainstream narrative’

Jaffe said the Washington Medical Commission’s “egregious” cases involving two of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, Eggleston and Siler, “have the same basic story” — public speech critical of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and of masking and advocating for the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatments.

“A lot of these cases are kind of stacked against people who go against the mainstream narrative,” Jaffe said. “Usually, to get on a medical board, you either have to give money to the governor or be connected to the party in power.”

Stockton said he admired Eggleston’s opinion pieces, published in the Lewiston Tribune, criticizing the mainstream COVID-19 narrative.

“Don’t we want these brilliant doctors thinking?” Stockton asked. “When I walk into their office, I want them thinking. I don’t want them just kind of regurgitating a rote response.”

“Stockton v. Ferguson, win, lose, or draw, is going to establish the principle that healthcare professionals … have the right to speak out in public, even if it’s against the mainstream narrative, even if the medical board thinks it’s wrong or physicians have no such right. This is the case that’s going to establish that principle,” Jaffe said.

He added that prior judicial decisions have not placed the right to listen at the forefront.

“[That’s] what this case is all about, and it has not really been given great significance in the past, certainly not in the context of public speech,” Jaffe said. “The importance of the Stockton case is, there really hasn’t been a holding … a case that [states] this bedrock principle.”

“If the medical board was doing their job, you wouldn’t need soapbox speech,” Stockton said.

Saying that this and other medical free speech cases, such as Kory v. Bonta, are “part of a bigger war,” Jaffe said he expects Stockton v. Ferguson to be in court by mid-May. If a preliminary injunction requested by the plaintiffs is granted, the Washington Medical Commission’s cases “will stop until the end of the lawsuit.”

“I can’t sit there and witness what’s happening to people … and our rights as Americans to speak freely and hear those speeches freely,” Stockton said. “The America I know has to be fought for, just like the people that did it that founded our country.”

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