Jewish organizations are expressing disappointment with this morning’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a law permitting U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have “Israel” listed as their birthplace in their U.S. passport. The ruling was 6-3 in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry.
The Orthodox Union actively worked to have the legislation passed by Congress and joined with other leading American Jewish organizations in filing a friend of the court brief urging the justices to uphold the law. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Kennedy, held that the Constitution grants the president the exclusive power to recognize foreign nations, and passport contents are part of that executive power. Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, dissented, saying the Constitution divides responsibility for foreign affairs between Congress and the president.
Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union, stated:
“We are, of course, disappointed by today’s ruling by the Supreme Court. But we are more disappointed by the persistent policy of the United States government—carried out by successive presidents—to treat the capital city of Israel with less respect than that accorded to capital cities of virtually every other nation. Jerusalem is unquestionably the capital of Israel. It is where Israel’s president resides, parliament sits and supreme court convenes. Moreover, over history, Jerusalem has only ever served as a capital city for the Jewish people—as it does today. Even after this court decision, it is high time for the U.S. Administration to acknowledge the reality of Israel’s capital—Jerusalem.”