White House welcomes Jerusalem passport ruling as upholding president's authority

The high court ruled that citizens born in Jerusalem were not permitted to list Israel as their place of birth in their passports, which are issued by the State Department.

June 9, 2015 20:08
1 minute read.
US President Barack Obama greets supporters in Milwaukee

US President Barack Obama greets supporters in Milwaukee. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)


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The White House expressed its satisfaction Tuesday with the Supreme Court’s decision to rule against congressional efforts to recognize Jerusalem as sovereign Israeli territory.

The court ruled on Monday that citizens born in Jerusalem are not permitted to list Israel as their place of birth on their US passports, which the State Department issues.

President Barack Obama has followed his predecessors, both Democrat and Republican, who have opposed recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital since the city’s unification in 1967.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s important decision yesterday in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, which reaffirms the long-established authority of the president to recognize foreign states, their governments, and their territorial boundaries,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“The court’s decision upholds the president’s long-standing authority to make these sensitive recognition determinations as part of his conduct of diplomacy and foreign policy.”

Presenting its case, the Obama administration argued that Congress’s efforts to legislate foreign policy overstepped its constitutional authorities.

And on this court case specifically, it argued that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would compromise Washington’s position as an objective arbiter in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The decision, Earnest concluded, “confirms that the president’s recognition determinations should be accurately reflected in official documents and sensitive diplomatic communications, including passports.”

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