'Judicial activism will become a rare event'

Former District Judge to Arutz Sheva about new High Court appointments: 'They won't oppose judicial activism, but will use it sparingly.'

Benny Toker,

Judicial Selection Committee
Judicial Selection Committee
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Retired Judge Menachem Neeman, formerly Vice President of the Haifa District Court, blessed the balance created in the Supreme Court as a result of the four new appointments, but emphasized that no great “revolution” is underway in the legal system.

“You can’t say that a judge appointed to the Supreme Court all of a sudden stops having all the thoughts and opinions he had before being appointed, but [the new appointments are], indeed, a positive influence because balance has been created. Such that we have here a good choice, not a revolution,” Neeman told Arutz Sheva.

He noted that in the past, judges had been appointed to the Court with certain expectations placed upon them, but had acted differently on the Supreme Court bench than had been expected . “You can’t foresee what every judge will decide based on his past, but that doesn’t mean that his worldview does not find expression in his rulings.”

“For example, the Attorney General Mandelblit, everybody knew that he was the big expert on international law, so nobody expected that, as Attorney General, he would change everything he knew about international law because of the Regulation Law.”

Judge Neeman explained that the struggle for judicial activism spearheaded by former Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak had problematic consequences. “You can’t cancel that principle and turn back the wheel of time, you can’t cancel the idea established in the Law of Human Dignity and Freedom which gives the Supreme Court the ability to cancel laws made by the Knesset but, on the other hand, I believe that it will come to be employed less.”

“We need to understand that we can’t turn back the wheel of time, and that what was established beforehand by the High Court judges is hard to cancel completely. But I assess that the possibility that they will cancel future laws of the Knesset will be less likely and will become a rare event,” he added.

On the conservative identity of the new judges, Neeman said: “the judges come with the view that judicial activism needs to be constricted. I know Yael Vilner well - she was in my [lineup of judges] and she is an excellent choice. Judge Elron was also in my lineup - a very efficient judge. I can’t say for sure that they will be against judicial activism, but they will agree that it must be used sparingly.”