Supreme Court Says U.S. Can Decide if Babies Born in Jerusalem Can List Israel as Their Birthplace
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Menachem Zivotofsky (photo: Richard Greenberg, Jewish Journal)
A nine-year-old boy might wind up forcing the U.S. government to do something it has long avoided: Officially declare whether Jerusalem is part of Israel.
Because Israel and Jordan have long fought over the divided city, the U.S. has had a policy of declaring the birthplace of Americans born there as being Jerusalem, without listing Israel on passports or other diplomatic papers.
Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem, and his parents took the matter to federal court, hoping to force the State Department into entering “Israel” on the identity papers of Americans born in the ancient city.
Zivotofsky lost his argument before a federal judge in Washington who refused to make a ruling. This prompted an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday voted 8-1 federal courts can decide the matter.
Back in 2002, Congress passed a bill that authorized the Secretary of State to record a child born in Jerusalem as being born in Israel if the parents so requested. President George W. Bush signed the bill (which was part of a larger Foreign Relations Authorization Act), but issued a signing statement saying that he would not enforce it because only the president—not Congress—could make such a decision affecting foreign policy.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Supreme Court Decides That Zivotofsky Suit Remains Viable (by Paul Kujawsky, Jewish Journal)
High Court Revives Suit Over Jerusalem Births (by Barbara Leonard, Courthouse News Service)
Zivotofsky v. Clinton (U.S. Supreme Court) (pdf)
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