You wait around, year after year, for one federal judge or another to finally recognize the rights of states to make their own laws, and THIS is the case where it finally happens? It’s just too much.
Federal Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Tuesday that Congress lacked the right to create a law banning the Islamic practice of female genital mutilation (circumcision) because it was a matter best left to individual states. With the ruling, Friedman struck a blow against federal prosecutors who were seeking charges against two doctors who had performed the procedure on underage Muslim girls in Michigan.
“As despicable as this practice may be,” said Friedman, “Congress overstepped its bounds.”
The ruling drew gasps of horror from women’s rights advocates, anti-Islamist activists, and others who simply wonder why now, of all times, a judge decided to find in favor of federalism. The chilling details of the case against the doctors revealed, among other horrors, that two mothers of 7-year-old girls tricked their daughters into thinking they were going to Detroit for a special girls’ trip. Instead, they were brought to Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who cut their genitals in the traditional Islamic practice. Nagarwala faced charged of doing to the same to at least 100 other girls in the Muslim Dawoodi Bohra community of Michigan.
“Outrageous,” tweeted Muslim reformer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has been an outspoken critic of the practice of FGM. “Cutting girls genitals is a crime and must be prosecuted.”
Our favorite cry of doom came from Ann Coulter, whose disgust with the verdict was palpable.
“Our new country’s going to be GREAT,” she wrote in response to the ruling.
The judge’s ruling was based entirely on the fact that, according to his reasoning, Congress was outside its scope of authority when it passed a law against FGM.
“Congress had no authority to pass this [anti-FGM] statute under either the Necessary and Proper Clause or the Commerce Clause,” he wrote. “There is nothing commercial or economic about FGM. As despicable as this practice may be, it is essentially a criminal assault, just like the rape at issue in Morrison. Nor has the government shown that FGM itself has any effect on interstate commerce or that a market exists for FGM beyond the mothers of the nine victims alleged in the third superseding indictment. There is, in short, no rational basis to conclude that FGM has any effect, to say nothing of a substantial effect, on interstate commerce.”
This may be one of those instances where a depressing and outrageous verdict can, actually, be constitutionally correct. It disgusts us that these creeps are going to get away with this sick practice, though, and we can only hope that a new Michigan state law outlawing FGM will at least keep any more kids from being harmed in this way.