"...unvaccinated children pose a threat to others who cannot get vaccinations. the court viewed this threat as very significant in her decision." Attorney Michael Sussman posted this follow up to the stay he had sought on his Facebook page in a public post:
Yesterday, Judge Denise Hartman issued a decision denying the preliminary injunction or stay I had sought on behalf of 26000 children and their families. The Judge composed a 34 page opinion which [in summary] made the following critical points:
1. we did establish that absent an injunction, there would be irreparable harm to the children and families involved. The judge stated that she had read and found quite compelling the nearly 400 affidavits we submitted and she acknowledge that her decision would cause families and students substantial hardship.
2. the court did not feel the balance of equities tipped our way [a second factor to consider in deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction] because, Her Honor reasoned, unvaccinated children pose a threat to others who cannot get vaccinations. the court viewed this threat as very significant in her decision.
3. whether applying strict scrutiny to the state's repeal or a less rigorous standard of legal review, the judge concluded that we do not gave a strong chance on ultimately succeeding in showing that the repeal violated any constitutional right. The court reasoned that there is no constitutional right to a religious exemption and that the legislature had neutral, not discriminatory, purposes which she found compelling, that is protecting public health. The court found ambiguous the comments we claim show animus toward religion and felt the legislature's purpose was benign, not discriminatory toward
those of religious faith.
The decision can be APPEALED to the Third Department, an intermediate level appeals court in Albany. I have circulated the decision to all the lawyers who have been directly involved in the litigation and we will take whatever actions we believe are warranted and possible. I will try to get a copy of the decision posted as soon as possible. I am sorry to have to report this news and extremely disappointed in the decision. mhs