The Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being sued by a 9-year-old American citizen named Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky. M.B.Z., as the court refers to the youth, was born in Jerusalem and wants the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to issue him a certificate of birth abroad stating that he was born in Israel.
What makes the case so explosive is not only that it involves the question of Jerusalem, but that it also pits the executive branch against the Congress. In agreeing to hear the case, the court specifically ordered the lawyers to focus on whether the law “impermissibly infringes the President’s power to recognize foreign sovereigns.” The case also involves presidential signing statements. Can a president, in signing a piece of legislation, announce that he doesn’t agree with part of it and doesn’t intend to enforce the law?