Zivotofsky Litigation

Parents of a boy born in Jerusalem asked the U.S. State Department to record on his passport “Israel” as his place of birth,” in accordance with Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003 (Act). The State Department refused and instead issued  a passport that listed only “Jerusalem” as his place of birth. His parents sued on his behalf, seeking enforcement of Section 214(d). The district court dismissed on the grounds that it presented a non-justiciable political question. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Zivotofsky v. Clinton, reversed and remanded the case. On remand, the district court held that Section 214(d) “impermissibly intereferes” with the President’s exclusive power to recognize foreign states. The ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. District Court dismissed for lack of standing and presentation of a nonjusticiable political question; 7 Sep 2004

U.S. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, ruling that Zivotofsky did have standing, and that the issue of justiciability should be subject to further factual development; 444 F. 3d 614, 17 Feb 2006

On remand, the U.S. District Court again dismissed, concluding that the case presented a political question, that is, the political status of Jerusalem, and therefore ruling that the case was not justiciable; 511 F. Supp. 2d 97 (2007)

The District Court decision was Affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals; 571 F. 3d 1227, 10 Jul 2009

U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, reversed and remanded the case to the District Court; 566 U.S. __, 26 Mar 2012

Brief for Petitioner Zivotofsky
Brief for Respondent Sec. of State
Reply Brief for Petitioner
Additional papers and oral argument available at the SCOTUSblog

District Court 2007 ruling reported at 511 F. Supp. 2d 97, was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals; 725 F.3d 197, 23 Jul 2013

U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 6-3; 576 U.S. __, 8 Jun 2015

Brief for Petitioner Zivotofsky
Brief for Respondent Sec. of State
Reply Brief for Petitioner
Additional papers, symposium, and oral argument available at the SCOTUSblog