October 8, 2022
Attorney Peter Adler represented the plaintiffs in a recent Massachusetts lawsuit involving Medicaid coverage for circumcision. A former advisor to an anti-circumcision legal group and author of Circumcision is a Fraud and the Coming Legal Reckoning, he has argued for years that elective circumcision of minor boys is illegal under existing laws. 
The Antisemitism in Intactivism Facebook page recently posted screenshots of two comments that Adler wrote seven years ago. Adler's remarks were made in the context of a lawsuit involving a parental dispute about a 4 year-old boy in Florida.  After a judge ruled in favor of the parent who wanted the boy circumcised, intactivists speculated that the judge was Jewish and then assumed that he had a pro circumcision bias because of his religious beliefs.
Adler opined, "A Jewish judge should recuse himself. Most Jews believe that circumcision is commanded by their god. If he believes that, he is biased in favor of circumcision."  After another commenter pointed out that many Jews “are secular or not very religious" and circumcise for "cultural reasons,” Adler suggested that in order to prevent bias and conflicts of interest, "only female judges and [uncircumcised] male judges" should hear circumcision cases. Adler offered an analogy to "a blind judge in the land of the blind hearing a case turning on a one-eyed man being able to see. The judge would not understand what it is like to see or here, to be [uncircumcised.]" 
Circumstantial Ad Hominem
This isn't the only time that a prominent intactivist has used the circumstantial ad hominem fallacy in an attempt to discredit circumcision defenders. In 2018 Kenneth Hopkins, the leader of the Blood Stained Men protest group who calls himself "Brother K," accused Jewish members of the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics task force on circumcision of being motivated by "religious bias."  Five years earlier a group of mostly European physicians wrote a response to the AAP policy statement in which they accused the entire task force of "cultural bias."  
By Adler's reasoning uncircumcised judges should recuse themselves - since most uncircumcised men elect not to circumcise their sons - so presumably they would be biased against the procedure. By his reasoning only female judges should hear cases involving circumcision. And yet a woman could be biased about circumcision based on the circumcision status of her son(s) or her romantic partner(s). Therefore - if one were to take Adler's logic to its absurd conclusion: the only proper judge to decide a circumcision case would be a lesbian or asexual judge who has no sons and who doesn't belong to one of the Abrahamic religions. 
It isn't clear why Adler assumes that a circumcised man couldn't understand what it is like to be uncircumcised. Does he believe that an uncircumcised man understands what it is like to be circumcised? Does he assume that a woman (who doesn't have a penis) would better understand than someone who does have a penis? Moreover, Adler's expectation that all Jewish men and all circumcised men support the procedure is perplexing, since clearly he’s aware that Jews and other circumcised men comprise a significant part of the intactivist movement. 
Adler's assumption that a blind judge would be incapable of deciding a case involving a one-eyed man indicates a prejudice against people with disabilities. His ableist view is reminiscent of a scene from Mr. Holland's Opus. Throughout much of the 1995 film, music teacher and composer Glenn Holland (played by Richard Dreyfus) has a contentious relationship with his son Cole, who is deaf. When John Lennon is assassinated in 1980, Glenn assumes that the musician's death means nothing to Cole, since the teenager can't hear Lennon's songs. Glenn is surprised when Cole angrily declares that he does know about Lennon and the Beatles, and despite his disability he appreciates their songs. The scene marks a turning point in their relationship and delivers a poignant lesson about making assumptions.
It’s shocking that an attorney with nearly 40 years of legal experience  would be so ignorant of the standards for recusal. Perhaps Adler isn’t aware of the history of judicial recusal requests based on immutable characteristics.
In a 1974 racial discrimination case, the defendants filed a motion for recusal because they believed that a Black judge could not be impartial.  Judge Leon Higginbotham rejected the motion, stating: "So long as Jewish judges preside over matters where Jewish and Gentile litigants disagree; so long as Protestant judges preside over matters where Protestants and Catholic litigants disagree; so long as white judges preside over matters where white and black litigants disagree, I will preside over matters where black and white litigants disagree." 
In 2009 opponents of Proposition 8, a voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California, filed a lawsuit to overturn the measure. After Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the initiative, it was later revealed that Walker was gay and in a same-sex relationship during the trial. In their appeal of the ruling, Proposition 8 proponents argued that Walker's relationship constituted a conflict of interest because - as a California resident he stood to benefit from his own ruling. An appeals court rejected that argument and ruled that Walker's same-sex relationship did not require his recusal. 
A 2014 case involved a Palestinian woman accused of lying on her U.S. naturalization papers and failing to disclose her involvement in terror attacks in Israel. The defendant moved for Judge Paul Borman, a Jew, to recuse himself from the case.  Borman rejected the motion, explaining: "The law of recusal is clear that a judge's prior activities relating to his religious convictions are not a valid basis for questioning his impartiality in a particular case." 
Attorney Seth Bloom explained the principle regarding judicial recusal. "The basic rule is that personal bias or prejudice must go directly to the judge's personal appraisal of the party, and cannot relate merely to his background and associations." 
Intactivists accuse anyone who disagrees with them of religious bias, cultural bias, medical greed, Stockholm syndrome, or denial. What is going on here? Why do intactivists instinctively make baseless assumptions about an opponent's partiality or mental state? Intactivists cannot defeat the facts and evidence regarding circumcision. If the facts were on their side, they would defeat us with the facts. Since the facts are on our side and intactivists have no valid arguments, all they have left is to attack us based on immutable characteristics.
Intact America Part 5: A wild goose chase backfires
Court rejects intactivist lawsuit against Mass. Medicaid
Antisemitism in intactivist leadership
 "Court rejects intactivist lawsuit against Mass. Medicaid"; Circumcision Choice; July 22, 2022
 "Intact America Part 5: A wild goose chase backfires"; Circumcision Choice; October 11, 2018
 Peter Adler; comment on Dan Bollinger post on Court Protest: Protect Chase From Forced Circumcision Facebook page; May 18, 2015
 ibid, comment on May 20, 2015
 "Antisemitism in intactivist leadership"; Circumcision Choice; August 13, 2022
 Morten Frisch et al; "Cultural Bias in the AAP’s 2012 Technical Report and Policy Statement on Male Circumcision"; Pediatrics; April, 2013
 Susan Blank MD et al; "Cultural Bias and Circumcision: The AAP Task Force on Circumcision Responds"; Pediatrics; April, 2013
 A Muslim judge would be disqualified because circumcision is strongly encouraged in Islam. A Christian judge would be disqualified because (according to many intactivists) circumcision is Unchristian. So presumably a Christian judge would have an anti-circumcision religious bias.
 Adler asserted that "most Jews believe that ... circumcision is commanded by their god for Jews," then peculiarly suggested that a Jewish judge should not decide any circumcision cases, presumably including those that may involve Gentiles. Yet a Jew who believes that circumcision is a divine commandment considers that commandment limited to Jews - not applicable to all males. The Jewish religion does not encourage circumcision for Gentiles. Even if a Jewish judge did have a religious bias, there would be no religious reason for him to promote circumcision for a boy who isn't Jewish.
 Peter W. Adler Profile; Martindale Online Directory for Attorneys. "Law School Attended: University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1983; Year of First Admission: 1983 Admission: 1983, Massachusetts"
 "A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr."; Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts; September 11, 2020
 Commonwealth of Pa. v. Local U. 542, Int. U. of Op. Eng., 388 F. Supp. 155 (E.D. Pa. 1974)
 Michael De Groote; "Prop. 8 declared unconstitutional by 9th Circuit Court; stay prevents same-sex marriages from resuming"; Deseret News; February 7, 2012. "The Ninth Circuit panel also ruled today that Judge Walker was not obligated to recuse himself from the Prop 8 case because he was in a longstanding same-sex relationship."
 Sam Kleiner; "Should Jewish Judges Recuse Themselves From Cases Involving Palestinian Terrorism"; Tablet; November 4, 2014
 Josh Gerstein; "Judge won't recuse over Israel ties"; Politico; July 13, 2014
 Seth E. Bloom; "Judicial Bias and Financial Interest as Grounds for Disqualification of Federal Judges"; 35 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 662 (1984-1985)
#Circumcision #Bias #ReligiousBias #CulturalBias #ConflictOfInterest #Judge #JewishJudge #BlackJudge #GayJudge #Recusal #Proposition8 #AdHominem #AdHominemFallacy #LogicalFallacy