EMET’s Amicus Brief Asks the Supreme Court to Honor U.S. Law and Require the President to Recognize Jerusalem as Part of the State of Israel
(October 28, 2014, Washington, DC)- Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) asked the U.S. Supreme Court to honor the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2002 torecognize Jerusalem as a city governed by Israel. Opening arguments in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, a case that challenges the unwillingness of the Obama Administration to enforce this law, will start on November 3, 2014. EMET has submitted an amicus brief in this case, supporting Zivotofsky.
In 2002, the U.S. Congress, in a strong bipartisan vote, passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, also known as Public Law 107-228. In §214(d) of this law, the statute required the U.S. government to put “Israel” as the place of birth in the passports of Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens, if they requested it. President Bush signed the Act into law on September 30, 2002. But, since 2002, the State Department has refused to enforce this law. The current Obama Administration supports the position of the State Department. Approximately 50,000 Americans have been disenfranchised and disrespected by these willful and illegal acts.
Menachem Zivotofsky was born in October 2002, to Americans parents living in Israel. After passage of the law, his parents requested that “Israel” be added to the place of birth on his passport, but their request was denied. Normally, when an American citizen is born abroad, the State Department issued passport will list only a country of birth. The one and only exception to that rule occurs if the citizen is born in Jerusalem, which the State Department refuses to acknowledge as a part of Israel. This is both a violation of American law and of normal State Department procedure.
The Zivotofskys sued to rectify this illegal act in 2004. Since then, the case has wound up and down the federal court system, and is now approaching a final decision in the highest court of the land. The likely question before the Supreme Court is – does the President have the exclusive right to recognize foreign nations, or is this a shared power with the Congress?
EMET, along with a number of other organizations, has submitted an amicus brief to the Court regarding this case. EMET strongly believes that the right to recognize foreign nations is a shared power between the Congress and the President, based on prior court precedent and historical examples. Moreover, we believe that according to the Constitution, the executive branch has the duty to carry out the law that has been passed by the legislative branch, and that the President is the implementer, but not the architect, of U.S. law. Therefore, EMET strongly supports the position of the Zivotofskys.
Sarah Stern, President and Founder of EMET, said, “We at EMET strongly believe that the Supreme Court should recognize prior court precedent and historical example, and ratify the duly passed American law that requires the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as a city under Israeli authority.” She continued, “Israel is the only foreign nation, let alone American ally, whose capital city we refuse to recognize as even a part of that nation. This disenfranchises and disrespects thousands of American citizens born in that city, including my own granddaughter, who was born this week in Jerusalem, Israel.”
Founded in 2006, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington DC and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit www.emetonline.org.
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