ZIVOTOFSKY V. KERRY (U.S. SUPREME COURT, 2014)

This case involves the right of American citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth on their passports, rather than just "Jerusalem." Despite a 2002 law directing the Secretary of State, upon the request of the citizen or the citizen's legal guardian, to record the place of birth as Israel, the State Department manual currently provides that the passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem must say "Jerusalem," reflecting official U.S. government policy regarding the unresolved status of Jerusalem. Following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court directing the case back to the lower court for review on the merits, ADL again led an unusually broad-based coalition of other Jewish organizations, in addition to the Association of Proud American Citizens Born in Jerusalem, Israel, in filing an amicus brief which argued that "a passport is not a statement of foreign policy," but rather simply involves a ministerial act "a means of identifying and differentiating citizens" based on information they provide. Therefore the statute does not implicate the Executive Branch’s foreign policy power and it was within the power of Congress to legislate regarding the issuance of passports. ADL also argued that denying Jerusalem-born American citizens to identify Israel as their place of birth on their passports is discriminatory as that is a right presently accorded to American citizens born in territories not even recognized by the United States.