Judicial review

In both Israel and the USA the issue of judicial review has come up as a possible limitation on democracy.  In both countries, rulings either by the Executive, as in the USA, or the Parliament (Knesset) as in Israel, will be reviewed by a high court, maybe even the Supreme Court, which may rule counter to the decisions of the elected officials.

In the US, it is Pres. Trump’s ruling to stop the immigration of refugees and citizens from 7 predominantly Muslim countries. This Executive Order has been overturned by two Federal Courts, in Washington and Minnesota, and the case is now being appealed by the US Justice Department.  They argue that it is within the President’s purview to determine who can and cannot enter the USA based on national security concerns and this cannot be second-guessed by the Judiciary.

In Israel, the Knesset last night passed a law that would for the first time legalize the construction of Israeli housing on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, and this would legalize 4,000 existing housing units. This Bill has also been challenged in the Courts by various special interest groups, including Peace Now and other left-wing organizations.  If the Courts rule against this Law and declare it unconstitutional, then there might be a serious constitutional crisis in Israel.  If the law is not contested it might be the first step in the annexation of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

In both countries the interference of the (liberal) Judiciary in the workings of the duly elected representatives of the people raises serious ethical and legal issues.  If the President cannot enact a ruling that he considers necessary for the safety of the citizens or the Parliament cannot pass a bill that it knows is controversial, then how can democracy ever work. On the other hand, the counter-argument is that the country is governed by laws and that any regulations or Bills passed must accord with and be consistent with those established laws.  Must precedent dominate, or can there be novel and inconsistent acts passed that change the situation and the precedent?  We shall see.


2 thoughts on “Judicial review

  1. Barry: Israel has an unwritten constitution, that regulates the relationships between the organs of the state. That’s why the J’sam Post can write about “the expected judiciary-executive collision over the regulation law.” That is a constitutional crisis (you can’t call it as non-constitutional crisis). Jack


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