The Oregon court heard oral arguments yesterday on a ground-breaking circumcision case:
The case pits divorced parents named James and Lia Boldt against each other. The father, a lawyer, recently converted to Judaism and wants to circumcise his 12-year-old son, over whom he has full custody. The mother doesn’t want the circumcision to take place. It’s not clear what the kid wants. The lower court dismissed the wife’s challenge, and she’s appealing the decision.
Yesterday, the mother’s attorney Clay Patrick a self described “lawyer’s lawyer” told the court that the circumcision posed “an unreasonable and unnecessarily high risk to the child.” Patrick said that even though the father had full custody, the mother was entitled to a court hearing because the procedure amounts to “sex abuse or physical abuse.” He said to the judges: “If the custodial parent wanted to amputate some other body part, I think the court would step in and say you can’t do that.”
There are some religious freedom arguments involved - if religious freedom means subjecting a twelve-year-old to permanent bodily mutilation. The father says he can do anything he wants to his son's body, barring something like tattooing "a swastika on his forehead." Here's the NYSun coverage. Weird sub-plot:
The anti-circumcision brief notes that during a prior court proceeding unrelated to the circumcision issue, the Boldts agreed that they had a dominant-submissive relationship in which Mr. Boldt was "god" or "sovereign" and that sometimes involved Mr. Boldt administering beatings to his wife, who assumed the role of "slave girl." The Boldts' son "must not be abandoned by the courts, to become embroiled in his father's need for a replacement slave … if that is what happened," the anti-circumcision group argued.