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Press Release

ADL Welcomes Supreme Court Decision to Allow Lower Court Review of Jerusalem Passport Issue

New York, NY, March 26, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision (PDF) in Zivotofsky v. Clinton, a case involving the right of American citizens born in Jerusalem to have "Israel" listed on their U.S. passports.

In its ruling, the court directed a lower court to review the Zivotofskys' claim on the merits, rejecting the argument that the issue at stake was a "political question" inappropriate for court resolution.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are gratified that the Supreme Court will let the Zivotofskys pursue their effort to list "Israel" as their son's place of birth on his American passport. Even though Congress passed a law granting them this right a decade ago, the State Department has refused to enforce it – and up until now lower courts have declined to get involved.

We are pleased that the Supreme Court has directed a lower court to review the law's constitutionality. The lower court should find, as we argued in our coalition brief, that the purpose of a passport is for identification, not to set or implement foreign policy. Congress acted within its power when it gave individuals like the Zivotofskys the option to list their son's place of birth as Israel.

ADL led a coalition effort in this case, filing a brief (PDF) on behalf of ten major Jewish organizations and an "Ad Hoc Association of Proud American Citizens Born in Jerusalem." The brief was prepared for ADL by the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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