The US Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments on whether a US citizen born in Jerusalem can list Israel on his passport. Historically, the US government had not listed Israel on the passport of Americans born in Jerusalem because it does not officially recognize Jerusalem as belonging to Israel. This is attested by the fact that the US, along with other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel-Aviv, as opposed to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. However, the valid argument for listing Israel on a US passport stems from the implementation of a law passed by Congress in 2002, allowing passports to list Israel as the birthplace of Americans born in Jerusalem. On the other hand, the US State Department has argued that the congressional law is unconstitutional, as it infringes upon the President’s authority to recognize the sovereignty of foreign governments. The nine Supreme Court justices remain divided on the issue, with Justice Anthony Sclaia suggesting a peculiar proposal to enforce the 2002 Congressional law but with the insertion of a disclaimer on the passport that the US is not recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel. A final court decision is expected next June.
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