Judge Denies Appeal to Let Unvaccinated Kids Go to School

Attorney Michael H. Sussman arrives for a hearing challenging the constitutionality of the repeal of the religious exemption to vaccination, Aug. 14, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink/File)

A judge has upheld a New York state law repealing religious exemptions from vaccinations required for children in schools or day care programs.

The state Legislature repealed the religious exemption in June amid the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades. Families who previously held religious exemptions sued, arguing the repeal action was unconstitutional because it violated rights of religious expression.

State Supreme Court Judge Denise Hartman upheld the law Friday, citing extensive legal precedent supporting compulsory vaccination laws. She quoted a 1944 U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying the right to practice religion doesn’t include liberty to expose the community to disease.

Civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman said Monday the decision will be appealed.

New York still allows exemption from vaccines for medical reasons such as a weakened immune system.