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Supreme Court Sides With Obama Admin in Big Israel Case


"Recognition is a matter on which the nation must speak with one voice."

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a controversial 2002 law enacted by Congress that would have permitted Americans who were born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their official birthplace on U.S. passports, the Associated Press reported.

In a 6-3 ruling, the high court found that the executive branch reserves exclusive power to recognize foreign nations, adding that passport designations such as these fall under that function.

"Recognition is a matter on which the nation must speak with one voice," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, concluding a 12-year legal battle over the matter. "That voice is the president's."

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The ruling found that Congress' 2002 law that would have circumvented the U.S. State Department's policy and infringed upon presidential powers, the Associated Press reported.

As TheBlaze previously reported, longstanding U.S. policy has been to intentionally not place Israel on passports of those born in Jerusalem.

Ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestine have led to this stance, as Israel has retained control of Jerusalem since the Six-Day War in 1967, and has called the city its capital. The Palestinians, though, would like east Jerusalem to be their capital in a future state, leading the U.S. to carefully consider how to handle the identification of Jerusalem, the AP reported.

The Supreme Court battle specifically surrounded the family of Menachem Zivotofsky, an American citizen who was born in Jerusalem in 2002; his family has challenged the U.S. government's policy in hopes of changing it.

The history on the matter goes back a few decades, as Congress officially sided with Israel in 1995, with a 2002 instruction to the State Department that was found within the Foreign Relations Authorization Act standing at the center of the current court battle.

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Under that instruction, the department was required to record Israel as the place of birth on passports of American children who were born in Jerusalem, should parents request it, though neither the Bush nor Obama administrations have complied.

Presidents Barack George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both argued that the requirement limited their powers as presidents; the Supreme Court's ruling agrees with this sentiment.

The issue had been volleying back and forth in the court system over the past few years, finally meeting its conclusion on Monday.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

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