Lawyers plan to claim genital cutting is allowed as a religious right. But legal experts say the First Amendment doesn’t bend that far.
On paper, the law seems clear: Cutting any part of a young girl’s genitalia is illegal — and no custom or ritual can be used to justify it.
The law has been on the books for 21 years, unchallenged.
But in a federal courtroom in Detroit, a landmark case involving the centuries-old taboo ritual is about to put that law to the test for the first time.
And perhaps more historic, a question will be raised in the American legal system that has never been raised before: Does the U.S. Constitution allow for genital cutting, even if it’s just a minor nick or scraping, in the name of religion?