Tingley v. Ferguson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2022
  • Case #: No. 21-35815
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Gould, Circuit Judge for the Court, joined by Wardlaw, Circuit Judge & Bennnett, Circuit Judge, concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

“States may regulate professional conduct, even though that conduct incidentally involves speech.” National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, 138 S. Ct. 2361, 2372 (2018).

Tingley challenged Washington’s law subjecting health care providers to discipline for practicing conversion therapy on patients under 18 years of age. Tingley assigned error to the judgment granting Washington’s motion to dismiss, arguing it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and that the precedent cited in denying his claims, Pickup v. Brown, 740 F.3d 1208 (9th Cir. 2014), was no longer good law. “States may regulate professional conduct, even though that conduct incidentally involves speech.” National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, 138 S. Ct. 2361, 2372 (2018). Although the Supreme Court’s decision abrogated the professional speech doctrine set out in Pickup, it nonetheless provided an exception where States may regulate speech if it is the result of professional conduct. Because this was the basis for the Court’s decision in Pickup, that portion of the case is still good law and defeats Tingley’s free speech challenge. Tingley’s free exercise challenge also fails because ​​the law was implemented to prevent harm that results from performing conversion therapy on minors, not to target the religious exercise of health care providers. Moreover, the law has an express protection for practicing conversion therapy in a religious capacity. Affirmed.

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