What’s Next? No Splitting Hairs?

law bans tongue splittingFrom University of Illinois law librarian Paul D. Callister came news of an Illinois law, House Bill 3086, that would amend the Illinois Criminal Code to ban the “splitting of tongues” except by licensed physicians or dentists and then “only if there is a therapeutic or clinical procedure for performing the procedure.”

What is “tongue-splitting”? Pretty much what it sounds and looks like. According to the statutory definition, it “means the cutting of a human tongue into 2 or more parts.” Why this procedure is so popular that legal sanctions are required to prevent its apparently rampant medically unnecessary use is mysterious. Seems understandable the legislature wouldn’t want people cutting other people’s tongues into parts unless there was a “therapeutic or clinical” need for it. On the other hand, citizens arguably have a constitutional liberty interest in splitting their tongues just for the heck of it (assuming they’re competent and sober when the procedure is performed).

Paul wryly observed that “[a]pparently, politicians may still speak with forked-tongues, but it is illegal to facilitate the practice among the general population without proper licensing and establishing medical necessity.”

— Illinois House Bill 3086.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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