A team of Three Crowns attorneys has filed an amicus curiae submission in support of the federal government’s ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) in United States v. Nagarwala et al. This landmark case, brought in the Eastern District of Michigan, is the first U.S. federal criminal trial under 18 U.S.C. § 116 (Section 116), which sets forth the United States’ federal ban on FGM.
Three Crowns partner Luke Sobota, along with associates Jessica Ji, Amelia Keene, Philipp Kotlaba, Kimberly Larkin, Ana Lenard, Laura Pereira, and Nastasja Suhadolnik, filed the amicus submission on behalf of four non-governmental organizations committed to the elimination of FGM: Equality Now, Sahiyo, WeSpeakOut, and Safe Hands for Girls. On November 2, 2018, Judge Bernard A. Friedman admitted the amicus submission into the record.
The amicus submission responds to the defendants’ motion to dismiss, which sets out a constitutional challenge to Section 116 under the U.S. Commerce Clause and Treaty Power. In support of the United States government’s position, the amicus submission argues that FGM is a human rights violation of national and international concern, which often involves interstate and international travel and is a valid subject for legislative action under the Commerce Clause. The amicus submission argues that Congress’s enactment of federal-level FGM legislation also comports with its Treaty Power, as Section 116 rationally relates to the United States’ international human rights treaty commitments including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
A hearing on the defendants’ motion to dismiss was held on November 6, 2018. A copy of Three Crowns’ amicus submission is available here: 3C Amicus – United States v Nagarwala.