US Supreme Court 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON - US Supreme Court justices on Monday seemed to back the
Obama administration's position that only the US president can recognize
foreign states, as they heard the case of a boy born in Jerusalem to
American parents who want his passport to list Israel as his birthplace.
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parents of 9-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky argued that the move should
be made under a 2002 law - passed weeks before Menachem was born - that
included a provision allowing Israel to be listed as the place of birth
on the passport of any American citizen born in Jerusalem.
stake in the diplomatically sensitive case is whether the US executive
branch has exclusive control over dealings with foreign nations, or
whether Congress and the courts also have a say.
accept the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Most countries, including the United States,
maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv.
want east Jerusalem, captured in 1967, as capital of the state
they aim to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, alongside
Zivotofsky was born on Oct. 17, 2002, in a hospital in
west Jerusalem. The US State Department, applying long-standing US policy,
insisted his birth certificate show Jerusalem - with no country
specified - as the place of birth, not Israel as his mother requested.
Nathan Lewin, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney arguing on behalf of the
boy and his parents, who attended the arguments, said the US Congress properly
exercised its power over passports and it can control a passport's
Former US president George W. Bush signed the law, but refused to follow it on the
grounds it infringed on the president's power to formulate foreign
policy. The Obama administration agreed.