US Supreme Court Orders State Dept. to List Jerusalem, Israel, in American Passports (JEWISH PRESS) By: Jacob Edelist 03/27/12)
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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday on the case of Zivotofsky v.
Clinton, a suit in which Naomi and Ari Zivotofsky are challenging the
way the State Department may list the birthplace of their son, nine-
The State Department, based on a long-standing U.S. policy, decided
that little Menachem Zivotofsky’s birth certificate, as well as his
US passport, will show Jerusalem as his birth place, without a
mention of the country in which Jerusalem belongs.
The parents filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. in
2003 objecting to the policy, based on a 2002 US law enacted shortly
before Menachem was born. The new law includes a provision allowing
Israel to be listed as the place of birth on the passport of any
American born in Jerusalem.
A Federal judge, followed by an appeals court, dismissed the suit,
saying that judges do not have the authority to order the federal
government to change foreign policy, even if current policy is
ignoring the will of the legislator.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower courts were wrong,
and that they should merely have decided whether or not Menachem
Zivotofsky could have the right “to have Israel recorded on his
passport as his place of birth.”
As Chief Justice John Roberts put it in his opinion: “Zivotofsky does
not ask the courts to determine whether Jerusalem is the capital of
Justice Stephen Breyer dissented.
Washington D.C. attorney Nathan Lewin, who has represented countless
high-visibility cases related to US Jews (such as the Lubavitch
movement’s famous books trial), was the Zivotofsky family’s attorney
before the Supreme Court. He argued Congress indeed had the power to
control a passport’s contents.
The ruling could change the status of an estimated 50,000 American
citizens who have been born in Jerusalem, and who may now be able to
list Israel as their birthplace. (© 2012 JewishPress. 03/27/12)
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