Dad appeals teen son's circumcision to U.S. Supreme Court

News  The Oregonian (Portland). Friday, 16 May 2008.

Ashbel S. (Tony) Green

A divorced father who wants to circumcise his 13-year-old son against the wishes of the boy's mother is trying to take his case to the External link U.S. Supreme Court.

External link James Boldt, who converted to Judaism, argues that preventing him from circumcising his son violates his constitutional right to practice his religion.

The U.S. Supreme Court accepts a small fraction of the appeals it receives. A decision on whether it will take the case is not expected until the fall.

Earlier this year, the External link Oregon Supreme CourtExternal link ruled that the trial judge should determine what the boy wants.

Boldt's ex-wife, Lia, a member of the External link Russian Orthodox Church, says her son doesn't want the procedure but is afraid to tell his father.

Lia Boldt also argued that circumcision was dangerous, a move that drew the attention of national Jewish organizations and an External link anti-circumcision group based in Seattle.

James Boldt now lives near Olympia. Lia Boldt lives in External link Jacksonville.

James Boldt has custody of the boy, which he says gives him the right to make religious and medical decisions for his son.

The couple married in the early 1990s and lived in External link Grants Pass. She filed for divorce in 1998. The child initially lived with his mother, but his father later won custody.

The father started studying Judaism in 1999 and later converted. He said he gradually introduced the boy to External link Judaism. By 2004, the child wanted to convert, which meant getting circumcised.

The boy had recently turned 9 when his father scheduled the procedure.

The mother went to court. The judge ruled in favor of the father, but ordered him not to circumcise his son until themother had finished her appeals.


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