A case challenging the State of Connecticut's decision to remove religious exemptions to mandatory childhood immunizations for school attendance in April 2021 is now headed to Connecticut Supreme Court for a hearing on Thursday October 26, 2023 at 11AM.
The case, Spillane v. Lamont, et al, which relies on protections provided under the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), has been brought by attorneys Lindy Urso, Jim Mermigis, and Kevin Barry, along with LeAnn Ducat and Christina Martinez.
A 501(c)3 non profit organization called Liberty Law Now is raising funds in support of the case.
The Spillane case is considered ‘a novel case of first impression’, which means no one has ever tried this approach using RFRA before. Connecticut is the only state which repealed the right to a religious exemption which also has a state RFRA statute. The RFRA statute requires a “strict scrutiny” judicial review, the highest level of judicial review of the legislature, to ensure that religious freedom has not been impacted when the state removed religious exemptions to vaccinations.
On September 13, 2022, the Spillane case defeated the State’s motion to dismiss in Stamford Superior Court. The very next day, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office appealed the enormous victory for religious liberty and the right to education.
The state of Connecticut's appeal has delayed the trial by more than a year now.
Previously, a case challenging the loss of religious exemptions in Connecticut brought by We The Patriots USA (WTP USA) was dismissed. On August 4, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the decision of the U.S. District Court of Connecticut.
Subsequently on August 17, 2023, WTP USA filed a petition to have the case reheard by the full panel of 13 judges on the Second Circuit. The Court must now decide whether to allow the case to be re-argued before the full bench of 13 judges. If the Court does not grant the review, then the original August 4, 2023, decision of the Second Circuit will remain in place.
WTP USA indicated it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if that happened.
However, that step may be unnecessary if the Spillane case, led by Attorney Lindy Urso, is successful in arguing the novel perspective it raised with RFRA.
If you want to follow the Spillane case, here's how you can do it: