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Stephen Masciocchi and Jessica Smith Stephen Masciocchi and Jessica Smith

In Baker v. USD 229 Blue Valley, No. 20-3054, 2020 WL 6437964 (10th Cir. 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Baker’s putative class action complaint for lack of standing. Plaintiff Baker sued to invalidate various Kansas statutes 10th Circuit Spotlightthat require children to be vaccinated before attending school or other childcare. But those laws allow for religious exemptions, which Baker received and which allowed her son to attend pre-school. In an effort to establish standing, Baker advanced a series of arguments based on possible future harm, but the Tenth Circuit concluded that Baker’s theories failed to satisfy Article III’s requirements.

Baker’s claims related to Kansas’s vaccination laws

“Kansas law requires children in schools and child care facilities to be vaccinated unless a medical exemption or a religious exemption applies.” Id. at *1. First, any pupil who enrolls in school for the first time “shall present to the appropriate school board certification that the pupil has been vaccinated.” Id. (quotations omitted) (Kan. Stat. §72-6262(a)). The statute allows for religious exemptions to this vaccination requirement, and “[t]o qualify for a religious exemption, a pupil must submit ‘a written statement signed by one parent or guardian that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose religious teachings are opposed to such tests or inoculations.’” Id. (quoting Kan. Stat. §72-6262(b)(2)) (emphasis added).

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