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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let him quit

Dan Meridor, the most left-leaning member of Prime Minister Netanyahu's government, is threatening to quit if the Supreme Court's chokehold on the country is harmed. And Prime Minister Netanyahu is vowing not to let it happen.
Speaking on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program, Meridor singled out a bill that would require candidates to serve on the High Court to face hearings in the Knesset Law Committee as well as Likud MK Danny Danon’s bill to limit the ability of foreign governments to fund High Court petitions filed by nongovernmental organizations.

Danon’s bill is set to be voted on by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday.

“One of the reasons I returned to politics was to stop the attacks on the High Court of Justice that started in the last [Knesset] term,” Meridor said.

“There has been a wave of attacks aimed at making Israel different – less liberal and more nationalist. I think we’re fighting for the spirit of our country, for its existence, our freedom, our liberty, freedom of expression, freedom to protest, and for human dignity.”

Danon’s bill would “set Israel decades backward,” he said.

“I returned to the government in order to stop such bills,” Meridor reiterated.

“There is no doubt that I won’t be part of a government that advances such bills, and I don’t think [this government] will.”
In other words, Meridor is threatening to quit if anyone harms the lifetime appointments of Supreme Court justices, who are selected by the court itself and not by the country's elected representatives. What's got Meridor all riled up is the prospect that candidates for the Supreme Court might have to face a Knesset hearing at which they would be asked for their views about the issues facing the country. What's worse, the Knesset might even say no to a candidate whose views are too far outside the mainstream. Funny, the US has lived with that system for more than 200 years, and for the most part no one has complained that its Supreme Court Justices are unqualified.

Why Netanyahu is buying into the Leftist sloganeering espoused by Meridor is a different issue. But Danon is right. The court is supposed to be a coequal branch of government and like the Knesset and the Prime Minister, it must be accountable to the people at least in some way. I'm not advocating holding judicial elections - that gives too much of an incentive for judges to become politicians. But if we cannot trust the Knesset to hold dignified hearings and to act reasonably, then we need to reconsider our entire system of government and not just how Supreme Court Justices are chosen.

More here and here.

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At 10:09 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The decision of Israel's Supreme Court to uproot Migron next year is part of the reason most Israelis have no confidence in the high court. Its perceived to rule in the interest of Israel's "enlightened" - meaning leftist elites. There's very little regard for the court's rulings. And its biased, self-selecting mode of naming its own members with no public input has helped to cement its low repute with the Israeli public. Nowadays its seen as just another political body.


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