For the past five decades, US presidents have not formally accepted the holy city of Jerusalem as belonging to either Israel or Palestine. The city has deep ties to both Judaism and Islam. This has caused some consternation among Americans who were born in Jerusalem. Like anyone else, they have desired to list their birth city on their passports. The Obama administration denied those requests because no nation has been formally recognized to own the city. Congress responded by getting a statute passed which allows people born in the city to list it on their passports. The statute was challenged before the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the high court struck down the congressional statute by a margin of 6-3. The majority ruled that the statute infringed on the president’s right to set foreign policy as guaranteed in the Constitution. The ruling stated that by compelling the president to allow Americans to declare Jerusalem as their birthplace, congress was forcing the chief executive to contradict his own foreign policy. The conservative justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito disagreed. They argued that just because a person lists Jerusalem as their birthplace, the president was not legally obligated to alter his foreign policy in regards to formally recognizing the city. In short, it was their view that the entire matter was not a big deal. The case was closely followed by constitutional scholars at Skout to see how the court would rule.