(CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR) — Federal courts are fully capable of resolving a bitter clash between the executive branch and Congress over the disputed status of Jerusalem, the US Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

The high court voted 8 to 1 to reject a decision by a federal appeals court in Washington that the highly emotional foreign policy dispute was best resolved by the political branches of government – rather than by unelected federal judges.

At issue in the case is whether Congress overstepped its authority when it passed a law instructing the US State Department to list Israel as the birthplace for American citizens born in Jerusalem.

The law is in direct conflict with a long-held State Department policy that the passports of Americans born in Jerusalem list the place of birth as simply “Jerusalem,” to avoid a false suggestion that US policy had changed concerning the disputed status of the city.

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