Judicial Reform – Resource Page
A selection of sources in English explaining and defending the proposed judicial reforms in Israel:
A short explanation on how the judicial reforms in progress will address the anomalies of the Israeli system and bring Israel closer to the rest of the Western democracies. Video produced by the Kohelet Forum.
In Regavim’s 2018 “Measure for Measure” report, we examined the High Court of Justice’s treatment of dozens of petitions filed by both sides of the Israeli political divide regarding violations of building and construction laws in Judea and Samaria. The study tracked identical, objective, quantifiable parameters – and the comparison revealed ongoing, deepseated, undeniable judicial bias. Read the full report here.
Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Political Appointments – By Eugene Kontorovich, professor at George Mason University Law School and scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum
Israel’s Supreme Court last week invalidated the ministerial appointment of Aryeh Deri, leader of one party in the new governing coalition. The Knesset had specifically passed a law authorizing someone in Deri’s situation (he had pleaded guilty to criminal charges) to hold cabinet office, but the court said it would be “unreasonable” for him to be a minister – a kind of impeachment by judiciary.
No judiciary in the world has as far-reaching powers over government as Israel’s. The court assumed these powers in recent decades without authorization from lawmakers or a national consensus, and there is no reason they should be unalterable. The reform proposals wouldn’t undermine judicial independence and would make the Israeli court more like its American counterpart.
Israel’s Judicial Reform Will Strengthen Its Democracy – By Avi Bell, Professor of Law
Sometimes populist, sometimes progressive, and always self-aggrandizing, Israel’s Supreme Court has become uniquely juristocratic – unbound by any clear rules, and possessing power unprecedented in any other modern democracy.
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy? – WSJ Editorial
Israel’s Supreme Court has more power than America’s but without the democratic checks. Israel’s court strikes down laws that it finds merely “unreasonable,” which can cover most anything. Israel’s court even has a veto on the appointment of new justices, in contrast to the U.S. where the President and Senate share the appointment power. The wisdom of the reform proposals varies, but it isn’t “antidemocratic” to think Israel’s Supreme Court needs democratic checks on its power.
Ben Shapiro explains Israel’s judicial reforms on the Daily Wire – Watch here
INTO THE FRAY: Death — Courtesy of the Supreme Court – By Martin Sherman
The initiative by the newly elected government to enact a far-reaching reform of the legal system is an inevitable result of the ongoing process of erosion of public trust.
Israel, it’s time for a grand bargain on judicial reforms – By David Friedman, former U.S. ambassador to Israel
Having practiced law in the U.S. for more than 35 years, I undoubtedly am biased in my belief that America has the world’s premier judicial system. Our Supreme Court has enormous power, but also has very limited jurisdiction. The Supreme Court was given the extraordinary power to overturn an act of Congress, but only if that act violated the Constitution (and never because the law in question violated the justices’ personal sensibilities). U.S. Supreme Court judges are appointed by presidents and subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
It’s time for Israel’s Supreme Court to be more like that of the U.S. Those who believe that the Israeli Supreme Court has too much power are certainly not outside the mainstream of judicial thought. Israeli Supreme Court judges are selected by a committee, the majority of whom are not politically accountable, and the Supreme Court itself even has veto power over new judicial appointments. Because Israel lacks a constitution, there is no text that prevents judges from deciding matters based upon personal views and philosophies.
Those who claim that limiting the power of the Israeli Supreme Court is an attack on democracy are wrong – it is the Knesset, not the Court, that reflects the democratic will of the Israeli people. In numerous parliamentary democracies such as the UK, the Supreme Court only may interpret but not overturn a law of the parliament. Indeed, prior to 1992, the Israeli Supreme Court did not consider itself to have the power to overrule acts of the Knesset.
The intellectual dishonesty permeating many of the arguments against judicial reform is quite harmful and the shrill rhetoric is breeding internal disunity and external embarrassment. Read the full article here.
Israel’s Judicial Reform “Controversy” Is Much Ado about Nothing – By Josh Hammer
There is simply no other country on Earth that attracts such disproportionate, and often vehement, disparagement from its would-be moral superiors as Israel. The current hullabaloo takes the form of the roiling debate over the new Israeli government’s proposed judicial reform package. Newspaper editorial boards from Washington, D.C., to Brussels have condemned the reforms in no uncertain terms.
There is no substantive basis whatsoever for these performative shrieks of hysteria. The government’s reform package is just and proper, as a matter of both political theory and comparative constitutional law. It would primarily make it easier for the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings by a certain threshold, and amend the current practice wherein justices essentially choose their very own successors. The first reform reflects the British model of governance, while the second would bring Israel in line with the American model.
This is all incredibly standard, straightforward and noncontroversial. The result, if the reforms are passed, would be a more democratic State of Israel.
If you want to know about what is going on with the judicial reform in Israel watch this fascinating discussion on the judicial reform between a former Israeli leftist, Gadi Taub, and a non-Jewish financial expert, David Woo, who lives in Israel and advises global investors.
Israeli democracy isn’t in danger. Minority rule is – By Gedalia Guttentag
For decades, Israel’s Court has ruled too far to the left of Israel’s electors. That’s now changing.
In late March, Im Tirtzu hosted legal experts Eugene Kontorovich and Michael Mukasey to discuss the proposed judicial reforms in Israel. What are the facts? How will these reforms strengthen Israeli democracy?
The Struggle for Israel’s Democracy – By Gadi Taub
Faced with the prospect of judicial reform, Israel’s progressive elite and its American allies are threatening to tear the country apart.
Check out “My Israel’s” comprehensive website: Everything you wanted to know about Judicial Reform in Israel. Such an extreme imbalance does not exist in any other democracy
Israel democracy, judicial review: The Brutus-Hamilton debate – By Shlomo Slonim
Those opposing restoration of Knesset authority are forgetting not only Israeli history but American history as well.
Israel — America’s closest democratic ally — is wrestling with a tyrannical Supreme Court. On this special edition of “LevinTV,” Mark introduces us to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. In this exclusive interview, Professor Kontorovich breaks down the problems Israel’s courts are causing and advocates for an overhaul of the entire judicial system.
Kohelet Policy Forum Chairman and Architect of the Israeli Judicial Reform proposal Moshe Koppel answers questions about the Reform and why the opposition is so against it.