Does the Commerce Clause Protect Female Genital Mutilation?

Three weeks ago U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman declared that the twenty-two-year-old federal law banning female genital mutilation was unconstitutional.  This ruling took Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and seven others off the legal hook for allegedly “circumcising” the genitals of nine girls from Michigan and two adjacent states, girls who were around seven years old when Dr. Nagarwala, an immigrant from India, performed an operation that most American doctors just won’t do.  Though only nine girls were included in the charges, it is likely that dozens more underwent a genital cutting ritual observed by a Muslim sect based in India and apparently practiced by several worshipers attending a Farmington Hills, Michigan mosque.    The judge’s legal analysis, curiously enough, was based on a constitutional principle that most jurists have ignored since FDR’s New Deal-pliant Supreme Court ruled in 1942 in Wickard v. Filburn that an Ohio...(Read Full Article)
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