Is it reasonable for the Supreme Court to hear the case on the reasonableness clause?
Almost an hour ago, the session in the Supreme Court hearing arguments for and against the Reasonableness Clause, an amendment to Basic Law:Judiciary began. The proceedings are televised and each network station will add their own interpretations and opinions regarding what is happening before us in what has been called a most historic event. Why historic? The entire 15-member panel of judges is sitting on this case and it is the first time that a Basic Law is being challenged in court, whereas basic laws are supposed to be regarded as comprising an unofficial constitution and, therefore, not open to challenge by the courts unless there is something seriously illegal in the law.
As I watch the opening arguments given by the Knesset, I am suddenly struck by something that seems to me to be remarkable and that one of the guests on the panel in the Channel 14 studio raises as I am completing this short article: The Supreme Court is hearing a case dealing with a law that seems to clip its wings, a law that says “You can no longer use ‘reasonableness’ or lack thereof to cancel laws legislated by the Knesset or appointments of public officials (or firing those hired by a previous government) made by the Knesset. There are other means for doing this, and the reasonableness clause stipulates that the idea of reasonableness is no longer one of these. Because there are other tools available to the court to cancel laws or appointments or firings, it only appears to clip the court’s wings. But that is an arguement for another day.
Let me repeat: The SC is hearing a case that deals with a law that they feel clips their wings. Is this is not a case of CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
If it is a conflict of interest, then the court should recluse itself, but then where would this take place?
In the Knesset?
Vicious cycle, no?
I am purposefully not writing here about what I see happening in the session itself, not writing about what happened during the legislative process by means of which the law was enacted, nor about arguments for and against the amendment itself. I am just noting that in my opinion something very fishy is going on.
Feature Image is a screenshot from the Knesset Channel broadcast of the court session.