The United States Supreme Court has handed down a landmark opinion on the exclusive power of the President to recognize foreign nations and cited Professor Robert Reinstein throughout both the majority opinion and a dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Writing for the majority in Zivitofsky v. Kerry, Justice Anthony Kennedy turned to Professor Reinstein’s scholarship in framing the question before the Court as one involving the President’s recognition power, traditionally grounded in the Reception Clause. Justice Kennedy then returned to Professor Reinstein’s work to place the issue in historical context through an examination of its use by previous administrations.
Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote in dissent, also relied on Professor Reinstein’s work, citing him as, “the leading scholar on this issue.”
The case before the Court, Zivitofsky v. Kerry, presented questions about whether Congress overstepped its powers by authorizing American citizens born in Jerusalem to name “Israel” as their birthplace on official government documents pursuant to Section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which was in conflict with longstanding U.S. policy that questions regarding the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations between Israel and Palestine. In striking down the Act, the Court held that the power to recognize foreign nations resides solely with the President.