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Case Basics
Docket No. 
M. B. Z., By His Parents and Guardians, Ari Z. Zivotofsky, et ux.
John Kerry, Secretary of State
(for the petitioner)
(Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the respondent)
Facts of the Case 

In 2002, Manachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem to parents who are United States citizens. Manachem’s parents requested that the U.S. State Department record his place of birth on his passport as “Israel,” in accordance with Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003 (Act). The State Department refused and instead issued Manachem a passport that listed “Jerusalem” as his place of birth. His parents sued the Secretary of State on his behalf and sought the enforcement of Section 214(d). The district court dismissed the case on the grounds that it presented a non-justiciable political question. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Zivotofsky v. Clinton, reversed that holding 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 U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed and held that the section goes beyond the scope of Congress’s passport power to affect United States foreign policy, which is a realm the Constitution reserves for the executive branch.


Does a federal statute that directs the Secretary of State to record the birthplace of an American citizen born in Jerusalem as “Israel,” if requested to do so, impermissibly infringe on the President’s power to recognize foreign states?

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ZIVITOFSKY v. KERRY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 May 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2014/2014_13_628>.
ZIVITOFSKY v. KERRY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2014/2014_13_628 (last visited May 26, 2015).
"ZIVITOFSKY v. KERRY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed May 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2014/2014_13_628.