The Supreme Court is about to take on a case that tangles Israeli politics with questions of congressional and executive power. It will hear an appeal from the parents of an American born in Jerusalem—a city the US doesn’t recognize as belonging to Israel—who wants Israel listed as his birthplace on his US passport instead of "Jerusalem," as is currently the policy. State department officials have denied the request of Menachem Zivotofsky’s US-born parents, who moved to Israel in 2000; both the district court and an appeals court ruled that it had no authority to consider the claim.
To complicate matters, the boy’s birth took place in October 2002, just after Congress decided Jerusalem-born Americans could list Israel as their birthplace. The Bush White House said Congress didn’t have the power to make such a decision; Obama’s administration agrees. Now, the high court must decide if Congress’ move interferes with presidential power, the AP reports. While Jerusalem’s “future status” may not be clear, its “current status” is, says the boy’s father. “When the US government mails its consular officials mail, they mail it to Jerusalem, Israel.” But the US, which keeps its embassy in Tel Aviv, does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital, and says the city's status should be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.