A "Misha" Case Update - Mothering Forums
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The Case Against Circumcision > A "Misha" Case Update
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 10:23 PM 05-02-2008
As some of you have read, Doctors Opposing Circumcision (DOC) has been helping defend a boy, now a 13 year old boy, whose father is trying to have circumcised against the wishes of his mother; the mother and father are divorced, the father has legal custody, the boy has told the mother he does not want to be circumcised but is afraid of his father, and I'll let you ferret out the reason why the father is seeking to circumcise the boy.

In April 2007, DOC filed an amicus curia brief in the Boldt case with exhibits attached in support of the petition for review and on June 19, 2007, the Oregon Supreme Court decided to hear the mother's appeal and set oral arguments for November 6, 2007 at 11:15am. DOC then filed a second amicus curiae brief on the merits of the case in July 2007. Up to this point lower courts have been ruling in favor of the father; however, in January, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a less than optimal judgment which decreed that the lower courts should have considered the boys wishes in making its decision. While it could have been worse, part of the reason it was not optimal was, by my understanding, if the boy refused they would still have to have a hearing to determine if the boy could refuse over the wishes of the father. Doesn't make any sense to me perhaps I am a little off in my interpretation; for a good critique of the judgment head on over to the Rolling Doughnut.

In any event, this was supposed to be kicked back to the lower court where presumably the boy would get his say. However, apparently that was too much for the father to handle. Instead the SOB has filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to overrule the judgment of the the Oregon Supreme Court. This does not mean the case will be heard; what it means is the father is petitioning the court to decide whether or not they will hear an appeal, appeals to the USSC are not (usually) automatic. If four judges decide they want to hear the case then it would be scheduled. This does not mean they believe the OSC ruled incorrectly it just means they will hear the case. There is a note about this over at circumsitions too. Just thought you all would like to know.

MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar MCatLvrMom2A&X 10:27 PM 05-02-2008
Heartbreaking that this father is so set on causing his son pain
Fyrestorm's Avatar Fyrestorm 10:38 PM 05-02-2008
Would it make me a really terrible person if I wished harm to the father so this little boy could live in peace with his body intact?
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 10:48 PM 05-02-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrestorm View Post
Would it make me a really terrible person if I wished harm to the father so this little boy could live in peace with his body intact?
No.
A&A's Avatar A&A 11:39 PM 05-02-2008
Whether or not he gets circumcised, that boy as an adult will want NOTHING. TO DO. WITH. HIS. FATHER for making him go through this.
paquerette's Avatar paquerette 12:16 AM 05-03-2008
So, if the Supreme Court does agree to hear the case, will it set a national precedent? Will they be deciding upon all the aspects of the original case, or just upon the aspect of whether the lower Oregon courts should have interviewed the boy?
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 12:42 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by paquerette View Post
So, if the Supreme Court does agree to hear the case, will it set a national precedent? Will they be deciding upon all the aspects of the original case, or just upon the aspect of whether the lower Oregon courts should have interviewed the boy?
I am not sure. As IANAL, I don't understand the finer points of law. Perhaps if Dave2GA sees this he might be able to elaborate in more detail. I suspect we would have to start by reading the writ which I haven't seen yet, I don't know if they are publicly available, if I find it I will post it. If I had to guess, I would presume that they would be ruling on whether it was proper for the SCO to remand the case back to the appellate court with the instructions to consider the wishes of the boy and not necessarily on the original facts of the case.

ETA: I am not sure what that precedent would be since I don't know on what basis he is filing the writ.

ETAA: Not related to following up this poster but I just wanted to say again this guy is an a**. What is he afraid of going back to the lower court? (A rhetorical question.) Now I know for sure he is doing this completely out of spite.
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 01:18 AM 05-03-2008
I'm not a lawyer of course but my belief is that James Boldt can only appeal the decision of The Oregon Supreme Court. To do so, he has to show that there was a procedural or factual error or omission or a conflict with the US Constitution. Only being peripheriferly familiar with the case, it would appear that he is appealing whether Misha has a say in the modification of his body or not. I suspect he will use the right of religious freedom as an argument that he has the decision making right instead of Misha.

I'm not sure if going to the Supreme Court of the United States is a good thing or a bad thing. The Justices have inherent biases regardless of their attempts to be neutral and those biases can affect their decisions. I'm just not sure we have changed the culture to the point we can be at all confident of a favorable decision. The danger of an unfavorable decision is that any decision may prevent the Supremes from re-visiting the case again for decades. Just look at Roe vs. Wade. The decision was made in 1972 (?) and the Court has steadfastly refused to visit the issue again despite heavy lobbying. That's 38 years!

At this time, I think we will be safer if The Supremes refuse to hear this case. I just don't think the time is right to get a favorable decision with any certainty. I think we have a lot more work to do changing the culture and the perceptions before we go to The Supremes.



Frank
Nathan1097's Avatar Nathan1097 01:23 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankly Speaking View Post
Just look at Roe vs. Wade. The decision was made in 1972 (?) and the Court has steadfastly refused to visit the issue again despite heavy lobbying. That's 38 years! Frank
This has nothing to do with circ or RvW, but I must contest one little bit- 1972 was only 36 years ago. (No biggie- just don't make me two years older than I already am! )
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 01:29 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankly Speaking View Post
I'm not a lawyer of course but my belief is that James Boldt can only appeal the decision of The Oregon Supreme Court.
Frank
The thing is he didn't really lose the case they were simply instructed to go back to the appellate and take the boys wishes into consideration I am surprised this happened and it only shows he doesn't care what the boy thinks. If he knew his son would want the circumcision Misha would say so at the appellate court and it would be done.
Nathan1097's Avatar Nathan1097 01:33 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhispers View Post
The thing is he didn't really lose the case they were simply instructed to go back to the appellate and take the boys wishes into consideration I am surprised this happened and only shows he doesn't care what the boy thinks. If he knew his son would want the circumcision Misha would say so at the appellate court and it would be done.

Having a 10 1/2 year old myself, I can see this dad having a H3ll of a time with Misha, should the circ be performed. That is, SHOULD he stay in his custody. Either way, the picture doesn't look good into the future.
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 01:38 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan1097 View Post
Having a 10 1/2 year old myself, I can see this dad having a H3ll of a time with Misha, should the circ be performed. That is, SHOULD he stay in his custody. Either way, the picture doesn't look good into the future.
Actually, if this grinds its way to the bitter end the kid could be at least 15 before it is resolved. And the older he gets the harder it would be to believe the court would allow him to be forcibly circumcised. But this is the US so who knows.

ETA: For perspective, IFIRC, he was only 8 or 9 when this started.
bluetoes's Avatar bluetoes 01:44 AM 05-03-2008
This father, I just don't get him. Fights over a clean room can ruin a relationship for years - something that makes a broken marriage even more difficult and involves lawyers and the high court - I can only imagine. Does he hate his ex-wife so much?
tamagotchi's Avatar tamagotchi 01:50 AM 05-03-2008
The longer this goes on, the more bizarre it is. If he has turned 13, Jewish law would consider him an adult, so he can't be converted against his wishes. Is Misha saying that he wants to convert (and be circumcised), but his mother is arguing that he doesn't really want to?
Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 01:52 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
The longer this goes on, the more bizarre it is. If he has turned 13, Jewish law would consider him an adult, so he can't be converted against his wishes. Is Misha saying that he wants to convert (and be circumcised), but his mother is arguing that he doesn't really want to?
To be honest it isn't clear what Misha is saying. The father says he wants it the mother says he doesn't and is afraid to confront his father. My money is on the mother. If Misha wanted to go through with this, and the father knew that, he could have gone back to the applet court confident that Misha would say as much.
tamagotchi's Avatar tamagotchi 02:03 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhispers View Post
To be honest it isn't clear what Misha is saying. The father says he wants it the mother says he doesn't and is afraid to confront his father. My money is on the mother. If Misha wanted to go through with this, and the father knew that, he could have gone back to the applet court confident that Misha would say as much.
To be converted at age 13 though, Misha would have to go into a room with 3 rabbis (without his father there) and convince all of them that he wants to be converted of his own accord. So is Misha willing to go before the rabbis and argue that he wants to be converted, in which case I would think he would be willing to stand up in court and say that too?

Or is his father trying to force him to be circumcised even though he wouldn't go through with the conversion? Having read about this case before, I wouldn't put it past Misha's father to do that. It seemed to me that he was mostly trying to get Misha circumcised in order to make Misha's mother mad.
fruitful womb's Avatar fruitful womb 02:24 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
To be converted at age 13 though, Misha would have to go into a room with 3 rabbis (without his father there) and convince all of them that he wants to be converted of his own accord. So is Misha willing to go before the rabbis and argue that he wants to be converted, in which case I would think he would be willing to stand up in court and say that too?

Or is his father trying to force him to be circumcised even though he wouldn't go through with the conversion? Having read about this case before, I wouldn't put it past Misha's father to do that. It seemed to me that he was mostly trying to get Misha circumcised in order to make Misha's mother mad.
What an interesting point. Didn't know about the rules according to Judaism. It makes it sound (to me, anyways) like Rabbis would advocate for him in court, given that he wishes to stay intact.

ETA: The father is being abusive. Because of this, the child should be removed from the fathers custody and the child placed in his mother's care.
fruitful womb's Avatar fruitful womb 02:28 AM 05-03-2008
At 13 a child could exercise his constitutional freedoms... hmmmm

Wouldn't that open the doors for the children at the compound to "exercise their constitutional freedoms" when they're 13?

Not that I want that to happen.


Just a thought.

ETA: We should be preserving their constitutional freedoms, (meaning there is no physical harm done to a child) so they can fully express their freedom when they've reached adulthood.
Ensemble's Avatar Ensemble 02:28 AM 05-03-2008
The Jewish groups that supported him with legal briefs to the Oregon Supreme court said they were happy with the ruling. They were concerned that the result could have impacted religious circumcision of infants. If accepted, this appeal could only re-open that concern, so presumably they will not support this bid to go to the Supreme Court. This ass-hat should be on his own with this petition.
perspective's Avatar perspective 04:11 AM 05-03-2008
Imagine if the Supreme Court did support the Father. Don't you think it might be a big wake up call to our laws, if people saw that 13-15 year old boy could be circumcised by force, and that it was all perfectly legal. Maybe people would think twice when doing it to their own children.
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 04:19 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi View Post
Or is his father trying to force him to be circumcised even though he wouldn't go through with the conversion? Having read about this case before, I wouldn't put it past Misha's father to do that. It seemed to me that he was mostly trying to get Misha circumcised in order to make Misha's mother mad.
I think you have hit on the crux of the situation. If Misha were on board with the circumcision, he would have told his father, the father would have set the circumcision up and it would have been done. The mother would have found out about it only after the fact. I suspect James Boldt let the cat out of the bag either by telling Misha what his intent was or by having him meet with a rabbi who told him what was about to happen. I suspect Misha was alarmed and went to his mother who went to bat for him.

Just some sideline information, . . . James Boldt is a lawyer and is representing himself. Lia Boldt is not a lawyer and is only able to fight this out with the help of lawyers from Attorneys for the Rights of the Child who deal in circumcision issues and who are representing her and Misha at no or little cost.



Frank
mntnmom's Avatar mntnmom 05:44 AM 05-03-2008
It might for some folks, but where I grew up, it would only reinforce the patriarchal dictatorship of the churh/society/home. They would hold it up as some badge of victory that even the Supreme Court could see the sense in imposing this on a "rebellious" teenager.(Yes, I'm from the American Bible Belt)

Quote:
Originally Posted by perspective View Post
Imagine if the Supreme Court did support the Father. Don't you think it might be a big wake up call to our laws, if people saw that 13-15 year old boy could be circumcised by force, and that it was all perfectly legal. Maybe people would think twice when doing it to their own children.

Fellow Traveler's Avatar Fellow Traveler 10:28 AM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Father also argued that the court lacked authority to grant mother's motions because (1) granting the motions would violate father's freedom of religion under the religion clauses of the United States and Oregon constitutions;
....

Quote:
However, in this case, mother has averred in her affidavit that M objects to the circumcision. (8) In our view, at age 12, M's attitude regarding circumcision, though not conclusive of the custody issue presented here, is a fact necessary to the determination of whether mother has asserted a colorable claim of a change of circumstances sufficient to warrant a hearing concerning whether to change custody. That is so because forcing M at age 12 to undergo the circumcision against his will could seriously affect the relationship between M and father, and could have a pronounced effect on father's capability to properly care for M. See Greisamer, 276 Or at 400 (illustrating proposition). Thus, if mother's assertions are verified the trial court would be entitled to reconsider custody. As to that inquiry, however, we think that no decision should be made without some assessment of M's true state of mind. That conclusion dictates the outcome here.

We remand the case to the trial court with instructions to resolve the factual issue whether M agrees or objects to the circumcision. In order to resolve that question, the trial court may choose to determine M's state of mind utilizing means available to it under the relevant provisions of ORS 107.425. (9) If the trial court finds that M agrees to be circumcised, the court shall enter an order denying mother's motions. If, however, the trial court finds that M opposes the circumcision, it must then determine whether M's opposition to the circumcision will affect father's ability to properly care for M. And, if necessary, the trial court then can determine whether it is in M's best interests to retain the existing custody arrangement, whether other conditions should be imposed on father's continued custody of M, or change custody from father to mother.
All the OSC asked was for the appellate court to consider the boy's opinion. So basically the father doesn't believe they need to have a evidentiary hearing to determine the boy's opinion (among other things).
Vito's Mommy's Avatar Vito's Mommy 08:35 PM 05-03-2008
I think it odd that this father is so obsessed with the appearance of his teenage son's penis. Freakin weirdo, imo.

You might just be right, it's all in spite. What a jerk.
Ann-Marita's Avatar Ann-Marita 09:20 PM 05-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankly Speaking View Post
. . . James Boldt is a lawyer and is representing himself.
Hm... Could the chance to argue in front of the USSC be a motivator? Maybe he thinks that this would be prestigious and would increase his business.
00646's Avatar 00646 01:43 AM 05-04-2008
This man what kind of person is he?
He has no care in what kind of relationship he has with his son.
He doesn't care if this their relationship.

And why is he so obsessed with his son's penis?
What a .
ThreeBeans's Avatar ThreeBeans 12:05 PM 05-04-2008
The guy is obviously an abusive freak.

Even if he wins his case, methinks he is going to have a tough time finding a surgeon willing to perform a circumcision on a teenager who doesn't want one or medically need one.
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 12:58 PM 05-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann-Marita View Post
Hm... Could the chance to argue in front of the USSC be a motivator? Maybe he thinks that this would be prestigious and would increase his business.

I think not. Constitutional law is a very specialized area and most lawyers are not prepared or experienced in this area of law. Most would find a consultant lawyer to help prepare their case. In this case, it appears that he is desperate and is going it "on the cheap." Going to The Supreme Court would have no prestige if he loses his case and in most cases would not apply to his area of law expertise.


Frank
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 01:05 PM 05-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
The guy is obviously an abusive freak.

Even if he wins his case, methinks he is going to have a tough time finding a surgeon willing to perform a circumcision on a teenager who doesn't want one or medically need one.

I'll agree that he is abusive but he has also converted to a religion that demands circumcision. There will be plenty of doctors that will be willing to perform the circumcision even if Misha is screaming "NO!"

There was a similar case several years ago. That was the case of Ethan Azar. Ethan's mother did not want the circumcision but her husband, Ray insisted after their divorce. He was a member of a religion that demands circumcision. There was a hearing and the court found that Ray had the right to have Ethan circumcised. In these cases, there is a waiting period to give time for appeals but Ray violated the waiting period and had Ethan circumcised the next day by a doctor who was a member of that religion. The day after the circumcision, the doctor was on the internet bragging about it and flaunting that he had done it.


Frank

Frank
perspective's Avatar perspective 01:37 PM 05-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00646 View Post
This man what kind of person is he?
He has no care in what kind of relationship he has with his son.
He doesn't care if this their relationship.

And why is he so obsessed with his son's penis?
What a .
But when you think about it, all this situation is, is an extreme version of what many American Moms' and Dad's do everyday.

This guy wants to forcibly circumcise his son for HIS religious beliefs, no matter what the sons views are. Parents all over the US forcibly circumcise their sons all for THE PARENTS. He really is no different then any other american parent, its just his situation makes things more obvious.

In the end circumcision has nothing to do with what the boy wants (few seem to care about that) it is what the PARENTS want.

Its just in this case, everything is much more obvious because you can
clearly see the boy as his own person with his own ideas.

It is disgusting to me, that in my country we hold up, as a high moral, the importance of protecting little girls from genital alterations (because it goes against their basic rights, because we are not a third world nation)
Yet at the same time it is perfectly legal to take a 13 year old boy kicking and screaming and forcibly alter his genitals. They see nothing wrong with that. How blind people must be.
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