The refusal of the State Department to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, and to issue passports listing Jerusalem as a birthplace in Israel, made its way to the Supreme Court.
The Court ruled that courts can decide the issue under U.S. statutes. While it appears to be an empowerment of the courts, it really is an empowerment of Congress to pass laws which the State Department has to honor.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the federal courts should decide whether a law that would allow Jerusalem-born Americans to list Israel as their birthplace on their U.S. passport passes constitutional muster.
The justices, on an 8-1 judgment, overturned a lower court ruling that said the judiciary could not get involved in a political fight mixing Middle Eastern politics with a dispute between Congress and the president.
“The courts are fully capable of determining whether this statute may be given effect, or instead must be struck down in light of authority conferred on the executive by the Constitution,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion.
But because the lower courts never actually ruled on the merits of the law giving Americans born in Jerusalem the right to have Israel listed as their birthplace — only that judges should not get involved — Roberts said the high court did not have enough facts to determine the law’s constitutionality.
The decision is here.