DOJ Files Motion to Dissolve Injunction in RFK Jr. Vaccine Lawsuit

Biden administration argues that Supreme Court’s Missouri opinion denying standing in suit alleging government collusion with social media firms applies here.
DOJ Files Motion to Dissolve Injunction in RFK Jr. Vaccine Lawsuit
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, Calif., on June 12, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Jack Phillips

The Biden administration filed a motion on July 8 seeking to remove a preliminary injunction handed down by a federal judge relating to a lawsuit filed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that accused the government and social media companies of censoring vaccine and COVID-19 content.

Earlier this year, Mr. Kennedy successfully petitioned a U.S. district court in Louisiana to issue a preliminary injunction that barred the Biden administration and various federal government agencies, along with social media companies, from removing his statements on COVID-19 and vaccines.

Mr. Kennedy, an independent presidential candidate, argued in a lawsuit that the social media companies and federal officials colluded to censor his statements on vaccines.

U.S. Judge Terry A. Doughty wrote at the time that an injunction was necessary because Mr. Kennedy was likely to succeed in the merits of his claims.

However, as the Biden administration’s filing on Monday noted, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a separate case that states and individual plaintiffs lack legal standing to sue administration officials regarding social media platforms’ rules on content, including vaccines and COVID-19.

In the court filing, the Biden administration said it is seeking to leverage that June 26 high court ruling, saying that the Kennedy case bears a number of similarities and that the injunction should be lifted.

“At a minimum, the injunction here is substantially overbroad in light of the Supreme Court’s Missouri decision—it covers defendants who had nothing to do with the COVID-19- related posts that are the subject of the Kennedy Plaintiffs’ complaint, and it applies universally, to all posts, by anyone, on any platform, on any subject,” reads the court filing, written by Justice Department attorneys.

It added that if the court “believes that some of the Kennedy Plaintiffs might still have standing notwithstanding Missouri, dissolution of the injunction is prudent so that this Court can reevaluate the situation with the benefit of additional briefing. If the Court enters such a ruling, the government would ask the Fifth Circuit to remand .... to allow this Court to dissolve the injunction.”

Government lawyers argued that Mr. Kennedy and the other plaintiffs were unlikely to win the case after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

According to the filing, lawyers asserted that Mr. Kennedy provided “no evidence” that provided details “that any social-media company’s action against his accounts can be attributed to the actions” of the Biden administration or other federal officials.

Further, they argued that social media platforms that removed content belonging to Mr. Kennedy and others did so under their own policies.

The government is seeking to either issue a notification that it will dissolve the preliminary injunction “if the Fifth Circuit [Court of Appeals] were to remand for the purpose of allowing it to do so” or have the judge issue a stay of the ruling pending an appeal.

Previous Court Activity

Mr. Kennedy along with Children’s Health Defense and Connie Sampognaro, a health professional who asserts that she was harmed by the government’s censorship campaign, have claimed in their class action complaint that the federal government violated their right to free speech.

The earlier injunction prevents the defendants—which include the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the FBI—from taking any actions to ask social media firms such as Facebook, X, or others to take down content.

In its 6–3 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration in the separate Murthy v. Missouri case, arguing that the challengers do not have legal standing to bring their lawsuit.

The majority of justices wrote that the plaintiffs did not bring enough evidence to show that the social media companies’ moderation of COVID-19 and vaccine posts were due to pressure from federal officials.

“We reject this overly broad assertion,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote. “As already discussed, the platforms moderated similar content long before any of the Government defendants engaged in the challenged conduct. In fact, the platforms, acting independently, had strengthened their pre-existing content moderation policies before the Government defendants got involved.”

As of July 10, lawyers for the plaintiffs have not filed a response brief.

The Epoch Times has contacted Mr. Kennedy as well as Children’s Health Defense, a group led by Mr. Kennedy and also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, for comment.

Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: