by John Basenfelder
Professor Robert J. Reinstein’s article Is the President’s Recognition Power Exclusive?, from Volume 86:1 (2013), was cited throughout Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Zivotofsky v. Kerry. The Court held that the president has the exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign.
The heart of the dispute involved a 2002 law that directed the State Department to record the birthplace in passports of children of American citizens born in Jerusalem as “Israel” if their parents so requested. The Court held that the law violated separation-of-powers principles. The executive branch has not recognized any state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem since Harry Truman’s presidency.
Chief Justice John Roberts also cited Professor Reinstein’s article in his dissenting opinion, calling Reinstein “the leading scholar on this issue.”