Saturday, October 1, 2011


Zivotofsky v. Clinton questions whether a federal statute on passports is unconstitutional. If U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem ask for Israel to be listed as their birthplace on their passports, the U.S. secretary of state must comply. This statute has not always been enforced, however, and the State Department refused to list Menachem Zivotofky's birthplace as Israel on his passport because the U.S. does not take a position on whether Jerusalem is Israeli territory.

Zivotofsky argues that the statute is constitutional because the State Department allows citizens to list places such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as birthplaces, even though the U.S. does not recognize them as sovereign nations.

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