On Monday, the
When our youngest son was born in Jerusalem in 1995, a number of questions faced us. First was whether we should accept Israeli citizenship for him, which would grant him a second passport and the ability to work (and take refuge, if necessary) in a foreign land — but which would come with a military service requirement in a country that wouldn't really be his home. We opted against it. Then there was the less pressing question of whether our newborn son could become president of the United States despite some ambiguity about whether he was a "natural-born citizen," as required by Article II of the U.S. Constitution. The consensus was that as the child of two American citizens, he could.
Now, 16 years later, there's a new issue for us (and him) to think about. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of Menachem B. Zivotofsky, a 9-year-old American citizen who, like my son, was born in Jerusalem. Zivotofsky (and his parents and his lawyers) are upset because his American passport — like my son's — doesn't specify a country of birth, just a city. My son's passport records his birthplace merely as "Jerusalem," unlike the passport of an American child who was born in "Paris, France" or "Beijing, China."