PJ Media encourages you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY.
X

November 20, 2018

YOU TRY FOR DECADES TO GET THE FEDERAL COURTS TO PAY ATTENTION TO ENUMERATED POWERS, AND THEY IGNORE YOU. THEN WHEN THEY FINALLY LISTEN, IT’S THIS CASE: Federal judge finds female genital mutilation law unconstitutional.

In a major blow to the government, a federal judge in Detroit has declared the nation’s female genital mutilation law unconstitutional, thereby dismissing nearly all of the charges against two Michigan doctors and seven others accused of subjecting at least nine minor girls to genital cutting in the nation’s first FGM case.

The historic case involves minor girls from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, including some who cried, screamed and bled during the procedure and one who was given Valium ground in liquid Tylenol to keep her calm, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman concluded that Congress did not have the authority to pass the 22-year-old federal law that criminalizes female genital mutilation in America. FGM is banned worldwide and has been outlawed in more than 50 countries, though the U.S. statute had never been tested before this case.

Friedman’s ruling stems from a request by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and her co-defendants to dismiss the genital mutilation charges, claiming the law they are being prosecuted under is unconstitutional.

More specifically, the defendants have argued that “Congress lacked authority to enact” the genital mutilation statute, “thus the female genital mutilation charges must be dismissed.”

I think that’s probably right. But if this stands, a lot of other criminal laws will have to go, and I have some doubts that the federal judiciary will hold to that principle. Eugene Volokh has more.