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Monday, June 08, 2015

Supreme Court says 6-3 Congress overstepped its bounds on Jerusalem

The Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 that Congress overstepped its bounds when it tried to require the State Department to recognize the capital of Israel (Hat Tip: MFS - The Other News). (By the way, the plaintiff is the kid on the left, and that's his father addressing the media after oral arguments in November 2014).
The court ruled 6-3 that Congress overstepped its bounds when it approved the law in 2002. It would have forced the State Department to alter its long-standing policy of not listing Israel as the birthplace for Jerusalem-born Americans and listing only "Jerusalem." 
The policy is part of the government's refusal to recognize any nation's sovereignty over Jerusalem, until Israelis and Palestinians resolve its status through negotiations.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the president has the exclusive power to recognize foreign nations, and that the power to determine what a passport says is part of this power.
"Recognition is a matter on which the nation must speak with one voice. That voice is the president's," Kennedy wrote.
The ruling ends a 12-year-old lawsuit by a Jerusalem-born American, Menachem Zivotofsky, and his U.S. citizen parents.
Justice Antonin Scalia read a summary of his dissent from the bench, saying the Constitution "divides responsibility for foreign affairs between Congress and the president." Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the dissent.
Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome of the case, but on narrower grounds.
If the Republicans win the White House, we will have some hope that this opinion becomes solely academic.  But while this ruling was expected, it is certainly disappointing.

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