US Supreme Court Sends ‘Jerusalem Passport’ Case to Lower Court

The US Supreme Court has sent back to the lower court the question of whether a passport can list “Jerusalem, Israel’ as a place of birth



The US Supreme Court has returned to the lower court a decision whether Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky’s passport can list “Jerusalem, Israel’ as his place of birth.

The case has made its way all the way through the entire United States court system, from the district court, through the court of appeals, and up to the highest court in the land.

But on Monday, March 26, Supreme Court justices sidestepped the delicate issue of Menachem Zivotofsky v. Hillary Clinton, as had all the adjudicators before them.

In their decision, the justices wrote, “Congress enacted a statue providing that Americans born in Jerusalem may elect to have “Israel” listed as the place of birth on their passports. The State Department declined to follow that law, citing its longstanding policy of not taking a position on the political status of Jerusalem. When sued by an American who invoked that statute, the Secretary of State argued that the courts lacked authority to decide the case because it presented a political question. The Court of Appeals so held.

“We disagree. The courts are fully capable of determining whether this statute may be given effect, or instead must be struck down in light of authority conferred on the Executive by the Constitution.”

The family, noted the Court, did not ask for a determination of whether Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Rather, the case presented is simply an intention to determine whether they have the right under the law to record Jerusalem, Israel on their son’s passport as his place of birth.

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By Chana Ya’ar