Fishbeck v. North Dakota

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Fishbeck v. North Dakota is a North Dakota legal case from the year of 1996 that was filed by Donna Fishbeck and others on behalf of her infant son, Jonathan Fishbeck, who had been circumcised. The plaintiffs were represented by Zenas Baer of Hawley, Minnesota. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. It named the State of North Dakota as the defendant.[1]

North Dakota, had in 1995, passed a law to protect the genital integrity of females, but not males. The suit sought to extend that protection to boys under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.[1]


The defendant, North Dakota, argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit.[2] Patrick A. Conmy, District Judge ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case and it was dismissed without a ruling on the merits of the case.[3] The Court commented:

All of the filings in the matter are extremely well done. The medical exhibits are detailed and scholarly and the credentials of those taking opposite sides on the issue of the value of routine male infant circumcision are most impressive.[3]

Judge Conmy observed:

The goal of the plaintiffs is to have routine male infant circumcision stopped. This may very well be a worthwhile goal.[3]


The plaintiffs appealed the ruling of Judge Conmy to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing under Article III of the United States Constitution to bring this case.[4]

This case was dismissed on procedural grounds. At no time were the merits of the case considered.

See also

External links


  1. a b REFweb Baer Z (7 June 1996). Complaint, Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. REFweb Baer Z (11 September 1996). Plaintiffs' Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. a b c REFweb Conmy, Patrick (22 October 1996). Memorandum and Order, Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  4. REFweb Arnold, Richard (3 June 1997). Judgment, ND4038-ND,, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Retrieved 6 June 2020.