U.S. Court Of Appeals To Hear Oral Argument On “Is Jerusalem In Israel?” Case On March 19


ari-zivotofsky-passportOn Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear Oral Argument on the issue of “Is  Jerusalem in Israel?” that was sent back to the Court by the United States Supreme Court over eleven months ago. Nathan Lewin, who successfully presented his 28th Supreme Court argument in the Supreme Court in November 2011, will argue orally and respond to questioning from three judges of the Court of Appeals in the Court’s Court Room on the 4th floor of the United States Court House at Third Street and Constitution Avenue (“John Marshall Place”).

The judges who have been assigned to hear the case are Karen L. Henderson, Judith W. Rogers, and David S. Tatel. The Court has allotted 20 minutes per side for oral argument.

On March 26, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 8-to-1 in Zivotofsky v. Clinton that the lower court could not avoid determining the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress in 2002 that directed the Secretary of State to permit US citizens to designate their birthplace as “Israel” if they are born in Jerusalem. The State Department has refused since 1967 to recognize Jerusalem as being in Israel and has contended that the courts would be deciding a “political question” if they approved the constitutionality of the law.

Lewin & Lewin LLP has been representing Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Yerushalayim to two American citizens who now reside in Beit Shemesh, Israel, pro bono for the past ten years. Their briefs in the Court of Appeals present substantial historical and policy grounds for rejecting the US Government’s contention that the law unconstitutionally interferes with the President’s authority to “recognize foreign sovereigns.”

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Is the next controversy if Paris is in France, or is Berlin in Germany, or maybe is Cairo in Egypt, I didn’t know if the United States has that power to decide about sovereign foreign countries and what their capitals are. Maybe Washington DC is not really the capital of the United States and what foreign country can tell us where our capital is??

  2. If it wouldn’t have been pro-bono let’s work out how much the lawyer fees would have been and ask if they still would have done this ;).

  3. A question. I have no clue when and where Mr Zivotofsky was born and the article does not give details, but I would imagine he was born after 1967 in a hospital in the Western part of the city. Between 1949 and 1967 as we all know there was an armistice line – both parties, Israel and Jordan, agreed that it was not a border, the border was to be discussed at later negotiations – yet the status quo of Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem and Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem was quite accepted, and of course, never challenged by USA. The dispute was whether (West) Jerusalem should have the status of capital of Israel before a peace treaty was signed and definitive borders were agreed, it was the transfer of capital city status from Tel Aviv to (West) Jerusalem which Arab-friendly countries objected to. After 1967 Israel annexed “East Jerusalem” and unified the municipality (while arab-friendly countries and businesses kept having two offices on the two sides of the former ceasefire line). Looks like this confusion, and lack of historical knowledge / memory of facts by the average US citizen (especially if not Jewish) was exploited by someone in the USA administration to silently rewrite some rules and in fact question the status of the whole city as Israeli territory? Including former West Jerusalem? This might be something to take notice of.