The case concerns whether the President has the exclusive power to recognize foreign sovereigns and whether Congress can command the President to issue a statement that contradicts earlier recognition. The Supreme Court held that the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, which allows citizens born in Jerusalem to list their place of birth as "Israel" on their passport, is not a political question and that the Judiciary must decide if the Act is constitutional. The President has the exclusive power to recognize foreign states and governments, which is considered final under international law and supported by the Constitution's text and structure, as well as precedent and history. Congress cannot qualify the formal act of recognition, as it is an executive power. Once the President has made his decision, it is binding on the people and government of the Union. The Act violates the President's exclusive recognition power by requiring him to contradict his recognition position on Jerusalem in official communications with foreign sovereigns.
The legal case concerns the constitutionality of Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, which requires the President to list "Israel" as the place of birth of Jerusalem-born citizens on their passports. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress cannot regulate the listing of a U.S. citizen's birthplace on a passport unless it is necessary and proper to carry out one of the federal government's enumerated powers. The passport directive in § 214(d) exceeds Congress' jurisdiction and invades the authority of the States, and is not a proper means of carrying out the federal government's powers. The consular report of birth abroad is a suitable means for Congress to execute its power under the Naturalization Clause, and is regulated by Congress under the Naturalization and Necessary and Proper Clauses, not the President's foreign affairs powers. Therefore, § 214(d)'s treatment of the consular report of birth abroad is constitutional. Justice Thomas dissented, stating that the regulation of consular reports of birth abroad falls within Congress' powers, not the President's foreign affairs powers.
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