Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Interim Score: Judicial Dictatorship: 1 Democracy: 0

The news just arrived that the Judicial Dictatorship Bulldozer set in motion by Aharon Barak, keeps moving on and flattening the opposition.

The new Justice Minister, Prof. Daniel Friedman, has suggested legislation that would allow the elected representatives of the people (i.e. the Knesset) to overturn 'Judicial Review.' Now, he's buckled under to pressure from Chief Justice Dorit Beinish and MK Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson and withdrawn the bill.

As a result, the judicial noose around the remaining shreds of Israeli democracy grows tighter. The court already decides a) military strategy b) political policy c) the degree of safety that Israeli Jews may expect d) how families may raise their children e) how Jewish expression is legitimate f) whether gays may be recognized as married g) how conversion functions and the lise goes on. Yesterday, it stopped just short of deciding what the Knesset may or may not discuss.

Keep in mind. This is a court that is 90% ideologically homogenous. It is a court that appoints its own successors. All of its members attended the same Law School.

What happened to democracy. Well, according Barak (and his less talented mimics), formal democracy resides in the Knesset. Real, substantive democracy is whatever the court, in its post-modern liberal homogenity, says it is.

Baudrillard may have died today, mais il vraiment vit.

God Save the State of Israel from this Court.


Ben Bayit said...

The law is a bad law - it would just further entrentch a bad system of a constitution "lemechtza" whereby some laws (e.g.old ones) are not subject to a constitution and some are. The lack of a firm constitution gives the court the ability to take the control away from the people.
But Religious Jews blew it. The Modern Orthodox establishment who sees as its ultimate goal to populate the civil service and military with as many kippa wearing functionaries as possible - docile and spirtually bent as they may be - refused to join with the Charedim when they started to agitate a decade ago against the activism of the court. EVen the charedim are to blame somewhat as Rav Elyashiv refused to allow Dayan Dichovski to accept the appointment to the HCJ. So part of the reason 95% of the court is homogenous is the religious' fault. At least the charedim openly admit that all they do is shtadlanus by the poritz - the MO still delude themselves into believing that there is no poritz in Israel.
In all fairness from 1949 to the early 1960's there was only ONE law faculty in Israel (and until the early 1990's there were only 4) so where else do you expect the judges to have gone to school seeing that an Ll.B. is an elementary requirement except in special circumstances?

Jeffrey said...

I'll ignore your usual anti-MO rant.

The present court has justices who are old enough to have come from ther faculties. QED

Ben Bayit said...

I'm MO - at least by any normal definition of the term. So rather than a "rant" I prefer to see it as "self-criticism".

Most judges are appointed for between 10-15 years. Barak's long tenure was an exception to the rule of thumb. Thus it will take at least another decade to start seeing more a balance between different faculties. But that is not the problem. I agree with Amnon Rubenstein - too many professors and prosecutors and not enough judges from other areas of the law. Also, IMHO, any attempts to provide some type of "ethnic" or cultural balance has inevitably resulted in "house-boy" types - Arabs, Mizrachim, Orthodox Jews - who just toe the party line. Anyone who doesn't toe the line gets shunted aside - I believe that in Levitsky's book the term used to describe that wing (E. Levy, E. Rubenstein etc.) of the Judge'offices was "the dark side". Re: Rubenstein - what he is saying today is basically what the Charedim were saying over a decade ago. But b/c they were "Charedim" we didn't listen to them and didn't join with them. We saw the Supreme Court as our natural ally (b/c it was supposedly a "Zionist" institution)and not Jews who were shomrei torah u'mitzvot. For that we deserve what we got and have to do a cheshbon hanefesh.

No - the system has to be reformed from scratch. The current regime in the State of Israel is a failure and doomed to crash and burn. The question is who - and what - will be here to pick up the pieces.