The Law Jerusalem Passport Case: Judicial Error and the Expansion of the President's Recognition Power

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Presidential power to recognize foreign nations and governments, exercised since the dawn of the republic, has never been viewed as exclusive. Indeed, Congress has enacted legislation that conferred recognition upon foreign countries. Recently, however, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in Zivotofsky v. Secretary of State, asserted for the first time in American history an exclusive presidential power of recognition. This conclusion, built on a flawed historical record and faulty judicial premises stemming fromUnited States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., exaggerates executive authority and ignores the largely ministerial role assigned to the president in receiving ambassadors and foreign ministers.