Passport case about Jerusalem goes back to Supreme Court

For the second time, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that would allow Americans born in Jerusalem to name “Israel” as their birthplace on their passports.

The court said on April 21 it would hear the appeal of a lower court decision that struck down a law passed by Congress in 2002 that would have allowed such a listing.

The State Department currently allows passports to name Jerusalem as a place of birth, but with no country listed.

The Obama administration had called on the court to not take up the case, saying in papers filed with the court that listing Jerusalem as being in Israel “critically compromises the ability of the United States to work with Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”

Palestinians claim Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. The U.S. Embassy is located in Tel Aviv.

The case was brought on behalf of Menachem Zivotofsky, 11, who was born in Jerusalem in 2002 shortly after the law was passed. In 2009, an appeals court ruled that the judiciary had no standing in the case, but the Supreme Court forced the court to reconsider last year.

Some 50,000 American citizens have been born in Jerusalem.

The court is scheduled to hear the case in October and probably will announce a decision by June 2015. — jta