US Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Jerusalem Passport Case

November 3, 2014

2 min read

The US Supreme Court is expected to hear on Monday oral arguments on whether Americans born in Jerusalem can list Israel as their place of birth on their US passports.

The historic case, Zivotofsky v. Kerry, has been working its way through the American court system for years.

Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem in 2002 to two American parents. His passport says “born in Jerusalem” and his parents have sued to have “Israel” added to his place of birth.

Since the founding of the State of Israel, US policy states that passports of Americans born in Jerusalem must list Jerusalem as the place of birth. This policy has been maintained by Republican and Democratic presidents.

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While Congress passed a law in 2002 that would require the US government to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth of Jerusalem born citizens, presidents have refuted the law so as not to be seen taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the status of Jerusalem.

President George W. Bush argued that the 2002 Foreign Relations Authorization Act infringed on “the president’s constitutional authority to conduct the nation’s foreign affairs”. President Barack Obama maintains this stance as well.

While Jerusalem is considered by Israel to be the capital, the international community, including the United States, does not recognize any sovereignty over the city.

The Supreme Court’s final ruling will decide whether the president alone has the authority to decide who Jerusalem belongs to on behalf of the United States.

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