Supreme Court to hear Jerusalem passport case for second time


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear for the second time a case which would allow Americans born in Jerusalem to list “Israel” as their birthplace on their passports.

The court on Monday said it would hear the appeal of a lower court decision that struck down a law passed by Congress in 2002 that would have allowed such a listing.

The State Department currently allows passports to name Jerusalem as a place of birth, but with no country listed.

The Obama administration had called on the court to not take up the case, saying in papers filed with the court that listing Jerusalem as being in Israel “critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”

The Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. The U.S. embassy is located in Tel Aviv.

The administration also argued that the executive branch has the sole authority to decide how to recognize a foreign state.

President George W. Bush signed the law passed by Congress in 2002, but in doing so refused to implement it, citing executive prerogative in foreign policy. President Obama has continued that practice.

The case was brought on behalf of Menachem Zivotofsky, 11, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 shortly after the law was passed.

In 2009, an appeals court ruled that the judiciary had no standing in the case, but the Supreme Court forced the court to reconsider last year. Arguments were heard in March 2013.

Some 50,000 American citizens have been born in Jerusalem.

The court is scheduled to hear the case in October and likely will announce a decision by June 2015.



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