Democracy of, by, and for the justices

As Israel’s activist judges seek more power, Americans have grasped judicial activism’s costs.

May 28, 2012 11:48
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch_390. (photo credit: Pool/Alex Kolomoisky)


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Former Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch made a truly shocking comment last week. Speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, she began, reasonably enough, by arguing that Israel needs a complete constitution to protect democracy and human rights. Then came the bombshell: “She said that the goal of completing a constitution could either be undertaken by the court itself through its decisions or by the Knesset through passing additional Basic Laws,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

In short, our former Supreme Court president thinks “democracy” is perfectly compatible with having unelected judges write a constitution and then impose it by fiat. In real democracies, constitutions require ratification by the people or their elected representatives. But Beinisch evidently prefers Soviet-style democracy, in which unelected officials makes the real decisions while the “elected legislature” is merely for show.


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