A Michigan court is hearing the case against a Doctor who was performing female genital mutilation and seven others who took their daughters to have their daughters’ genitals mutilated by him as part of a religious practice. The case against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala alleges that she could be responsible for the cutting of over 100 girls.
This seems like an open and shut case. Under a law that swept through Congress over twenty years ago, Female Genital Mutilation was outlawed and harshly criminalized. However, according to this Michigan State Judge, the law outlawing the cutting out of underage girls’ clitoris is “unconstitutional.”
In his decision, the judge included the following statement: “As despicable as this practice may be, it is essentially a criminal assault. FGM is not part of a larger market and it has no demonstrated effect on interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature… Application of these principles to the present case leads to the conclusion that Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM. Like the common law assault at issue in Bond, FGM is ‘local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress.”
In other words, according to this judge, the case has no standing in his court room because outlawing the practice of female circumcision is a matter for the states to decide, not the federal government. This is a big win for the defendants of this case, who took their underage daughters to have their vaginas mutilated as part of a Islamic religious tradition, and if this judge’s ruling stands they will go free along with the doctor who has cut the genitals of hundreds of young girls before them.