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Jewish Journal

High court asked to consider Jerusalem passport case

By Ron Kampeas, JTA

December 9, 2010 | 10:43 am

Lawyers for a Jerusalem-born U.S. citizen whose family wants “Israel” listed on his passport as his birth country have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

After his birth in September 2003, the family of Menachem Zivotofsky brought suit against the U.S. government under a 2002 law that allows Americans born in Jerusalem to list the city as in “Israel.”

President George W. Bush had signed the law, but stated that it was “advisory” because it interfered with the president’s right to conduct foreign policy.

Alyza Lewin, a lawyer for the family, said in a news release Wednesday that the family asked the Supreme Court to review a decision last year by a U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to uphold a lower court ruling that the judiciary did not have jurisdiction in the case because the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power to set foreign policy and recognize foreign governments to the executive branch.

The government has until Dec. 29 to respond, Lewin said.

U.S. passports do not list a country for those born in Jerusalem because of fears that recognizing the city as Israeli would prejudge Israeli-Palestinian peace negotations.

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