A High Court decision in September to strike down the Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Standard that passed into law last week would be "void," and the other branches of government do not need to respect it, Likud MK Tally Gotliv wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
The Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Standard is an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary, and as such has quasi-constitutional status. The High Court has never struck down an amendment to a Basic Law, but has indicated in past rulings that it could do so for one of two reasons: negative use of the Knesset's constitutional power, or an "unconstitutional constitutional amendment."
"The Supreme Court has no authority to intervene in Basic Laws," Gotliv argued in the tweet. "I am sorry to disappoint you, High Court judges, you are definitely not above the law. A ruling without authority is void … therefore, I will not respect an intervention in Basic Laws," Gotliv added.
Gotliv's post came a day after the Likud put out a statement warning the High Court against a possible intervention in Basic Laws.
"The government of Israel always took care to respect the law and rulings by the High Court, and the High Court always took care to respect Basic Laws," the Likud wrote. "Both of these pillars serve as the basis of the rule of law in Israel and of the balance between the branches of government in every democracy. Any divergence from one of these principles will create great damage to Israeli democracy, which in these days needs calm, dialogue and responsibility."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made similar claims in interviews on NBC and CNN this week, and refused to commit that he would respect a High Court ruling to strike down the reasonableness law.
Opposition responses to the statement
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid criticized the Likud's statement on Facebook.
"The threatening letter sent to the High Court was clear: 'Basic Laws have never been disqualified by the High Court,' the message clarified, 'so do not even try to touch them now. You are in the crosshair," Lapid wrote. The opposition leader argued that the government could not take advantage of Basic Laws to pass something "lopsided, hurried, and negligent," and then expect the High Court not to intervene.
While the case against the reasonableness standard will be heard in September, this issue could flare up sooner due to a separate appeal against a different Basic Law amendment known as the Incapacitation Law, which bars the attorney-general from announcing a prime minister "legally incapacitated" of fulfilling his position. Petitioners argue that this amendment was passed specifically for the benefit of Netanyahu, and therefore constituted a "negative use of the Knesset's constitutional power."
The High Court will hear this case on Thursday. However, instead of canceling the amendment, the court may avoid the possible constitutional showdown by ruling that it will only come into effect after the next election.