Animal Cruelty Now A Federal Crime; Female Genital Mutilation Is Not

in November 2018, Judge Bernard Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued a sweeping opinion holding the FGM statute unconstitutional.

Fox News, WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill that makes animal cruelty a federal crime has passed Congress, and the president signed it into law on Monday.

The Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act is a federal ban on animal cruelty, outlawing purposeful violence causing serious bodily injury to animals.

Those convicted would face federal felony charges, fines and up to seven years in prison.

California Rep. John Garamendi tweeted confirmation of the bill signed into law.

“Good news: The bipartisan legislation I cosponsored to make animal cruelty a federal crime was signed into law today!” he tweeted on Monday. “I’m pleased that Republicans and Democrats came together in bipartisan fashion to support this critical bill.”

The PACT Act would make it easier to prosecute those involved in the gruesome killing of animals.

“The torture of innocent animals is abhorrent and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. said … Read more. 

Female Genital Mutilation Ban Shelved By Federal Judge: What Congress Can Do

October 29, 2019

Just Security – Since 1996, the act of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been a federal crime.

Federal circuit courts have characterized FGM as “a barbaric practice unbecoming of a civilized society,” “a form of physical torture causing grave and permanent harm,” and “a horrifically brutal procedure.”

According to a high-ranking official in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, “[b]rutality of this nature is inconceivable and horrifying.” And the Solicitor General of the United States recently declared FGM to be “an especially heinous practice . . . that should be universally condemned.”

In keeping with this uncompromising posture, successive administrations have used their diplomatic clout to pursue the global eradication of FGM.

Although an estimated 513,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of being subjected to FGM, federal prosecutors brought only one set of charges under the FGM prohibition, 18 U.S.C. § 116(a), in its first two decades of existence.

That’s why the April 2017 indictment of Jumana Nagarwala, a Detroit emergency-room doctor, was such a tectonic event in the anti-FGM community. It held out the promise of accountability for human-rights abuses that often occur under a shroud of secrecy.

And it demonstrated DOJ’s commitment to enforcing an untested statute whose deterrent effect had been questionable, at best. Superseding indictments revealed a protracted conspiracy in which Dr. Nagarwala and her associates routinely performed FGM on minors—perhaps over a hundred in all—at a Michigan medical clinic.

But in November 2018, Judge Bernard Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued a sweeping opinion holding the FGM statute unconstitutional on the grounds that neither Congress’s treaty-implementing authority nor its power to regulate interstate commerce justified § 116(a)’s enactment.

DOJ initially appealed this loss to the Sixth Circuit, its customary response when a federal statute is ruled unconstitutional. But on April 10, 2019, the Department sharply reversed course … Read more. 

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