FGM and the Commerce Clause

In the United States, the federal code prohibits “female genital mutilation” procedures on minors. A Michigan doctor and several parents were charged with violating this law in US v. Nagarwala. Recently, a district court judge struck down this law. This article from the Detroit Free Press provides additional details. In short, the judge found that Congress did not have the power to ban these procedures. 

Image from cnn.com.

Although women’s rights activists were stunned by the ruling,  this article from Reason.com (a libertarian publication) argues that the decision is correct, given the Supreme Court’s existing jurisprudence about the breadth of the Commerce Clause. What do you make of this case? How might the Supreme Court rule in this instance? Is there a way that Congress could institute such a ban using some other provision in the Constitution? Or is this something that must be left to the states to incorporate into their own criminal codes?

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