Supreme Court Justice: Judicial reform ‘fatal blow’ to democracy

Justice Yariv Levin countered that Hayut was behaving like a “political party” who was “inciting protestors.”

By World Israel News Staff

Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial reform will deliver a “crushing blow” to judiciary and will be “fatal” for democracy,  Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut warned on Thursday.

“Israel will soon mark 75 years of independence as a Jewish and democratic state. Unfortunately, if the people who invented this plan have their way, the 75th year will be remembered as the year in which Israel’s democracy suffered a fatal blow,” Hayut said at an annual legal convention.

“This is an unbridled attack on the judicial system, as if it were an enemy that must be attacked and suppressed,” she went on.

She dismissed the new government’s claim that they were acting  according to a majority who elected them, saying, “Anyone who claims this gives them an ‘open check’ to do as they please is exploiting the name of democracy.”

According to Hayut, a court’s autonomy is crucial in ensuring that “the rule of the majority does not turn into the tyranny of the majority,” especially in matters of human rights.

According to Hayut, Levin’s proposed reforms would limit protect individual rights, especially the “override clause,” which would allow the Knesset to re-legislate laws that the Supreme Court had struck down, pending a 61-MK majority.

Read  Drop in turnout for 21st weekend of anti-government protests

“The planned override clause allows the Knesset, with the support of the government, to enact laws that would harm these rights without hindrance. Therefore, whoever thinks that the override clause ‘overrides’ the court is wrong,” she claimed.

“In fact, it is about overriding the human rights of each and every individual in Israeli society.”

Justice Minister Yariv Levin in response said Hayut was behaving like a “political party,” and accused her of trying to “set the streets on fire.”

Levin went on to say that the reform would protect minorities, saying “democracy is not the tyranny of the minority, imposing its values on the majority through its control of the legal system. The rule of the judge is the opposite of a reformed democracy.”