Supreme Court Strikes Down Americans Claiming Israel as Place of Birth
The United States Supreme Court made a highly controversial ruling today, striking down a law that would have allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to list their birthplace as Israel on their U.S. passports.
According to Fox News, "The court ruled 6-3 that Congress overstepped its bounds when it approved the law in 2002. It would have forced the State Department to alter its long-standing policy of not listing Israel as the birthplace for Jerusalem-born Americans and listing only 'Jerusalem.'"
The ruling ends a 12-year-old lawsuit by a Jerusalem-born American, Menachem Zivotofsky, and his U.S. citizen parents. Back in 2002, around when the suit was filed, President George W. Bush signed the provisions into law but noted that "U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem has not changed." President Barack Obama has taken the same stance.
U.S. policy has long-stated that the status of Jerusalem will be established at the end of peace talks between the Jewish state and the Palestinian Authority. Of course, those talks continue to be plagued with problems. The statute allowing U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to claim Israel as place of birth has been seen by many as a way to appease the political situation. Israel, of course, recognizes Jerusalem as its capital.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli said in court, “[Congress can't use its authority to regulate passports] to command the Executive branch to issue diplomatic communication that contradicts the government’s official position on recognition.”
In an article by jspacenews.com, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “the fact that the State Department doesn’t like the fact that it makes the Palestinians angry is irrelevant.”
It's unclear what the ruling will do to foreign relations.