In Jerusalem passport sase, justices consider congressional role in foreign policy

by Ron Kampeas

November 4, 2014

A lawyer for a boy born in Jerusalem whose parents want Israel listed as the birthplace on his U.S. passport tried mightily this week to make a Supreme Court hearing mainly about their wish, but the justices kept upping the ante.

That might mean bad news not just for 12-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky and his folks. It could also present a problem for the prospects of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should the court defer to the Obama administration’s argument that a 2002 law allowing the Israel listing infringes on the president’s prerogative to set foreign policy.

Alyza Lewin, the lawyer who represented Zivotofsky in oral arguments at the court Monday, acknowledged that the tenor of questioning indicated support among the justices for the idea that the case hinges on the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.

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