Tom Ginsburg Discusses Israel’s Proposed Judicial Reforms and Protests on National Constitution Center Podcast

Israel’s Constitutional Crisis

In January 2023, the Israeli government under newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a series of legal reforms that set off a wave of protests and calls of a constitutional crisis. The reforms seek to empower the Israeli legislature, known as the Knesset, to override decisions of the Supreme Court of Israel as well as to control the appointment of justices to the Court, and to limit the power of the Court to review administrative acts. Large-scale rallies and protests across Israel ensued; the protestors and critics, including many lawyers and academics, argue that the reforms undermine judicial independence and threaten Israeli democracy. In this week’s episode, Professor Yuval Shany of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Tom Ginsburg of the University of Chicago join to explain the current situation in Israel and unpack the debate over the proposed reforms; discuss the similarities and differences between the American and Israeli constitutional systems; and how and why the reforms if passed, and taken as a whole, could lead to democratic backsliding. Host Jeffrey Rosen moderates.

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Constitutional democracy