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March 27, 2012 2:26 pm

Federal Courts Receive Green Light to decide on ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ Passport Issue

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A U.S. passport. Credit: PD.

An 8-1 U.S. Supreme Court judgment Monday stipulated that federal courts can determine the constitutionality of Jerusalem-born Americans listing “Israel” as their birthplace on U.S. passports, overturning a lower court ruling that precluded the judicial branch’s control over such decisions.

After the State Department refused to issue Jerusalem-born Menachem Zivotofsky a passport stating he is from Israel, citing a 2002 U.S. law, Zivotofsky’s parents sued the government. Zivotofsky’s passport lists only “Jerusalem” as his birthplace.

Federal courts “are fully capable of determining” whether the 2002 law “may be given effect, or instead must be struck down in light of authority conferred on the executive by the [U.S.] Constitution,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion Monday.

The Supreme Court, however, did not make a final decision on 2002 law’s actual constitutionality, instead sending the case back down to lower courts for rehearing on that matter.

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