True government reform would require limiting the courts’ power, Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said Monday, in a conference in the Knesset on judicial activism’s effect on the Knesset’s status as legislator. The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel cosponsored the conference.
Former justice minister Prof. Daniel Friedmann criticized the court for being overly involved in government decisions.
According to Friedmann, the courts give too many people and organizations standing when they should not have it and allows itself to criticize any government body.
“The combination of these two things creates a result in which every government decision can be undermined by anyone in the courts,” Friedmann explained. “Even if the court does not cancel the [government or Knesset] decision in the end, the fact that it can judge any decision is disruptive.”
Friedmann pointed out that “what will the High Court say” is a commonly asked question in government and Knesset dealings, which makes the decision-making process longer and more costly.
“When the High Court acts like a legislator, it does not undergo the same system of debate and critique as the Knesset.
Judges don’t see the ramifications of the legislation, which can be far-reaching, and they cancel laws too easily,” he stated.
There is no legal basis for attorney-general decisions being binding for the government and the fact that this has become the norm cripples the executive branch of government, according to Friedmann.
Shaked reinforced Friedmann’s words, saying that in her role as chairwoman of the committee on the ultra-Orthodox conscription bill, she often deals with the question of what the High Court will say.
“Equality isn’t always total. We want to do the right thing with the law and we know there won’t be total equality, but we have to think about what the High Court will say. The Knesset is losing its sovereignty, because that question is floating in the air,” Shaked said.
The Bayit Yehudi MK also mentioned the electoral reform bill that was authorized for its final reading Monday, saying that “it has no connection to governance.
The real problem is that the courts have too much power.”