Judge dismisses Scott Jensen's First Amendment lawsuit against the state Medical Practice Board

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen's discrimination lawsuit against the state Medical Practice Board has been dismissed by a federal judge.

Judge Jerry Blackwell wrote in his order last week that Jensen failed to provide any examples of other physicians being treated differently when he was the target of complaints. He also failed to show that the board's investigation had impeded his freedom of speech, the judge said.

“Jensen has therefore not shown standing to his viewpoint discrimination and equal protection claims,” ​​the judge wrote in an 11-page dismissal order.

Last June, Jensen filed suit in U.S. District Court and Carver County District Court, claiming that the state medical board and Attorney General Keith Ellison had discriminated against him and targeted him because of his political views. He said the board's receiving and investigating citizens' complaints violates his First Amendment free speech rights.

In his federal lawsuit, Jensen claimed that the complaints and board inquiries have cast a “cloud of continued uncertainty” over his gubernatorial campaign, according to court documents. He said the inquiry was tantamount to “weaponizing a government agency” and “an ideologically driven, politically driven government censorship apparatus that retaliated against its opponent based on the content of the message it delivered.”

The board responded that Jensen lacked standing and Blackwell agreed, writing that Jensen's complaint failed to show that he had been injured.

To make a valid First Amendment claim, Jensen would have to show that the board's actions had a “reasonable purposeful” chilling effect on his speech, Blackwell wrote.

Jensen claimed that anonymous complaints to the board cooled his speech. Blackwell said Jensen's lawsuit provides an example to the contrary.

As of late 2020, two claims were filed and rejected by the board. In the following years, Jensen continued to criticize the government's handling of COVID-19 mandates and vaccine requirements. He urged civil disobedience against mask and vaccine policies. He vowed to reshape the board if re-elected. Jensen lost to Governor Tim Walz.

Blackwell cited several examples from Jensen's own legal filings where he “over the course of many years, as a senator from Minnesota, as a private citizen, and as a major party candidate for Governor of Minnesota “Spoken out against COVID-19 policies.

Jensen's state court complaint in Carver County is still pending and is scheduled for hearing in November. But that lawsuit has been limited to a narrow group of data practice matters regarding Jensen's claims that Ellison's office failed to provide him with the documents he sought.

Jensen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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