Tom Ginsburg Discusses Proposed Reforms to Israel’s Supreme Court

A law professor worries Israel could become the next Hungary

Israel’s new governing coalition has been called the “most right-wing” in the nation’s history. That’s heartening to supporters who want the country to get tough on crime and secure Jewish rights to live in the West Bank, and dismaying to critics who see a government bent on denying rights to Israel’s minorities and undermining any hope for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the far-right politics of new government ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir have drawn much of the world’s attention, a series of proposed changes to Israel’s judicial system has also been raising hopes and alarms. On Wednesday, new Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced an overhaul that would limit the authority of the High Court of Justice, Israel’s Supreme Court. It would put more politicians on the selection committee that picks judges, restrict the High Court’s ability to strike down laws and government decisions and enact an “override clause” enabling the Knesset to rewrite court decisions with a simple majority.

Levin and his supporters on the right justify these changes as a way to restore balance to a system that he says puts too much control in the hands of (lately) left-leaning judges: “We go to the polls, vote, elect, and time after time, people we didn’t elect choose for us. Many sectors of the public look to the judicial system and do not find their voices heard,” he asserted. “That is not democracy.”

Read more at The Jerusalem Post

Constitutional democracy