In W.D. v. Rockland County, (SD NY, Feb. 22, 2021), a New York federal district court dismissed free exercise, equal protection and due process challenges to an order of the Rockland County Department of Health requiring children between 6 months and 18 years of age to be vaccinated against measles in order to enter any place of public assembly, including for educational or religious purposes. The order did not apply to children with medical exemptions, but did apply to those with religious exemptions. Rejecting plaintiffs’ free exercise challenge, the court said in part:
Here, the Emergency Declaration is subject to rational basis review because it is both facially neutral and generally applicable…. Under rational basis review, Defendants have demonstrated that the Declaration served the legitimate government purpose of protecting the County’s community from the measles outbreak…. Moreover, even if strict scrutiny applied, the Emergency Declaration satisfies that standard as well.