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Judge rules that federal law banning female genital mutilation is unconstitutional

Samantha Schmidt writes, “A federal judge dismissed criminal charges against two doctors in a landmark female genital mutilation case and ruled that Congress “overstepped its bounds” by passing a law banning the procedure.

The case centered on two Michigan doctors and six others charged last year in connection with arranging to perform female genital mutilation on nine girls, four from Michigan and five of whom were brought to the state from Illinois and Minnesota.

While female genital mutilation has been a federal crime in the United States for more than two decades, the Michigan doctors were the first to be charged under the law. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement touted the indictments at the time, saying the charges “will hopefully deal a critical blow to stamping out this inhumane practice.”

But on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman found the federal ban unconstitutional, ruling that, among other reasons, female genital mutilation is a “local criminal activity” that must be regulated by the states, not Congress.”

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