Legal Expert: Supreme Court Activism is Over

Legal expert Dr. Haim Shain welcomes the appointment of new judges to the Supreme Court. "Former Chief Justice Barak's policy is over."

Elad Benari ,

Dr. Rabbi Haim Shain
Dr. Rabbi Haim Shain
Yoni Kempinski

Legal expert Dr. Haim Shain, a lecturer in the Shaare Mishpat College, welcomed on Sunday the appointment of four new judges to the Supreme Court.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Shain said Friday’s announcement on the new appointments is a happy one and “a great achievement to the legal system.”

Shain said that the new appointments bring an end to judicial activism, which led a most serious blow to the public’s confidence in the judicial system in Israel.

He rejected the claims of those who described the appointments as a victory for Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, adding he personally knows the candidates who were selected and that they are great people.

On Friday, the Committee for Appointment of Judges selected four new judges to the Supreme Court, among them the hotly debated Justice Noam Solberg.

In addition to Solberg, who is religious, lives in Gush Etzion and does not have a leftist orientation as do most of the other judges, three of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch’s candidates were chosen as well. They are Tel Aviv District Court Judge Uri Shoham, Professor Daphne Erez-Barak, and the Vice President of the Jerusalem District Court Zvi Zylbertal.

Beinisch, who is due to retire in February, has been fighting with all her might to prevent the court from changing its ultra-leftist hue and has come out publicly against the appointment of Judge Solberg for this reason.

One new appointment that has been especially criticized is that of Prof. Erez-Barak. MK Michael Ben-Ari on Sunday slammed the appointment, saying Erez-Barak had a clear anti-Zionist agenda.

Shain, however, rejected these claims as well, saying, “I know what her position is. I’ve heard her lecture. The judicial activism the way Barak defined it is over.”

He was referring to the “everything is judiciable” approach that was instituted by former Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who proceeded to act upon that principle. Under Barak, Beinisch's mentor, the court used this principle to change the route of the security fence to comply with Arab claims and to open route 443 to Arab drivers, despite IDF security-related objections.

Shain said that there is a great distance between appreciating Barak’s judicial activism position and agreeing with it, adding Professor Erez-Barak should be viewed as appreciating this position.

He warned that branding the new judges as right-wing or left-wing would hurt their judging ability since, as he put it, from now on “all their rulings will be interpreted as a tendency to right or to the left. I hope the media will just give them a rest.”

He added, “I’m glad that the activism that threatened to turn Israel into a state of all its citizens is coming to an end. Starting in February the court will have judges who understand the importance of legal restraint and the price that was paid for the loss of that restraint.”