A lot has been happening in the aftermath of the Judge MacFarland’s order granting the Air Force plaintiffs both an injunction and a class certification in Doster v. Kendall. Particularly interesting has been the government’s attempts to get USAF personnel to “opt out” of the Doster injunction. I have heard several different variations on this theme, including (1) an offer to take EUA shots that don’t use aborted fetal tissue (presumably allowing those whose only concerns are that specific religious prohibition to take an alternative “vax” and thus get back in the DoD’s good graces and on with their careers); and (2) an ultimatum that one has to opt out of a lawsuit that one is already in or otherwise be DQ’d from Doster’s protection.
Just so that everyone is clear, the Wilson v. Austin case includes NO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM/1A or RFRA claims, therefore there is no conflict for folks in this suit in benefiting from the Doster injunction AND continuing along to litigate the informed consent and other Constitutional claims that we have made. Thus, anyone claiming that you have to pick this case or Doster is full of crap and doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
This also is a nice segue into a topic I have thus far avoided, but feel compelled to address for what will be the first and last time here. Because there are so many of you, and you’re under a lot of pressure and have some idle time (because of how you’re being treated), some of you have taken it upon yourselves to start playing barracks lawyer and offering your decidedly NON-expert opinion to others. I understand that this may be well-intentioned – and other times it may come from an inflated sense of ego or importance – but I would humbly suggest that anyone who is a recipient of such “legal analysis” of our case should IGNORE IT.
I don’t care if someone claims to be a judge advocate, another lawyer, have experience in this area, or whatever – I PROMISE you that they are not operating with the full scope of information that we have. Period. No one, and I mean no one, knows this case, and how it fits in with the surrounding cases, besides we lawyers who are litigating it. We are in contact with all of the attorneys who have other cases and receive updates on where those cases are from the attorneys themselves, in some cases before documents even hit PACER. That’s to say nothing of the fact that I am also frequently in contact with the DoJ lawyers regarding the movement of the case, scheduling, etc., as required by our meet and confer obligations under federal and local rules.
If you believe that either you or someone else knows this issue better than I do, then please let me know so I can release you from the suit and you can represent yourself – or seek that other “better” lawyer’s expertise. Otherwise, everyone would do well to keep the rumor-mongering and sea-lawyer analysis to a minimum. It doesn’t help; it is almost always wrong, or outdated; and it only confuses others and wastes time. The MTI has been filed and I have to work out some issues with the DoJ regarding pseudonymous plaintiffs (the ~75 John Does and Jane Roes of MAFL) and whether or not that will require a Motion to allow them to be “named” in the case. That should get resolved early this week and/or require a Motion.
For now, the Doster injunction remains in effect and what’s happening in other RFRA cases has no impact on our case directly, and only helps provide a respite to those of you in the Air Force who filed an RAR. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to be accepting any offers from the DoD to take anything – unless, of course, you’ve decided you want out of the suit because of some highly unusual personal circumstances. In those cases, you should be talking to me directly. Otherwise, right now the DoD is getting its ass kicked and there is zero reason to be taking them up on any offer. Given what they’ve done to you so far, do you really think they have your best interests at heart?