Israel Passport Designation Clash Gets U.S. Court Hearing

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider letting Americans born in Jerusalem designate Israel on their passport as the place of birth, accepting an appeal from a family waging a decade-long fight against the State Department.

Taking up an issue with diplomatic implications, the justices today said they will review a lower court ruling against the parents of Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem in 2002.

The family points to a 2002 law giving Jerusalem-born passport holders or their parents the option of designating Israel as the birthplace.

A federal appeals court in Washington said the measure unconstitutionally infringed on the president’s exclusive power to recognize foreign sovereigns and determine their territorial boundaries. The State Department has a policy of not taking a position on the political status of Jerusalem.

The high court showdown will be the second in the case. The Supreme Court two years ago ruled in the family’s favor on a preliminary question.

The Obama administration urged the Supreme Court not to hear the latest appeal.

The case, which the court will hear in the nine-month term that starts in October, is Zivotofsky v. Kerry, 13-628.

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