Recognizable Power

The Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Executive Authority

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

On its face, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision this month in Zivotofsky v. Kerry looks like an ode to presidential power. In it, the Court, for the first time, struck down an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs. The law had required the State Department to designate Israel as the nation of birth of certain Americans born in Jerusalem. For 60 years, though, the United States has recognized no country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. When the Court invalidated the act, it affirmed that it is the exclusive power of the president to recognize foreign governments, stressing the …