Judicial reform: ‘Reasonableness clause’ bill back on Knesset agenda

Bill aims to strip Supreme Court of ability to void legislation or strike down government decisions based on subjective idea of “reasonability.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A bill aiming to restrict the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down legislation or decisions made by elected officials based upon “reasonability” is on the Knesset agenda for this week, Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman confirmed on Sunday morning.

Israel’s Supreme Court has long justified interfering in laws and government policies based on the so-called “reasonableness clause,” which states that the judiciary may unilaterally move to invalidate decisions it deems to fall outside of the scope of reasonability.

Supporters of judicial reform have noted that the nature of this clause is highly subjective, as what one person may consider unreasonable may be reasonable to someone else, and has no equivalent in any other judicial system in the world.

Rothman’s proposed bill will strip the Court of its ability to hold hearings on matters that are focused on the “reasonability” of government decisions or legislation made by elected officials.

However, the bill would allow the Court to continue to rule on the reasonableness of decisions made by unelected officials and bureaucrats within governmental institutions.

According to Hebrew-language media, the coalition hopes to pass the bill before the end of the Knesset’s summer session.

Since the current right-wing government took office in December 2022, the coalition has had little success in passing much of the reforms.

As of now, the only judicial reform-related bill passed by the coalition was a measure that prevented the Attorney General from declaring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit to serve due to an alleged conflict of interest.

Some members of the right-wing coalition have warned that should judicial reform legislation remain stalled, there will be mass resignations from the government.

Rothman, who is one of the lead architects of the reform, has publicly said that a lack of progress regarding the reforms would lead to the collapse of the coalition.