Shaked: Appoint judges based on their value systems

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks out against the Supreme Court's tendency for judicial activism.

Hezki Baruch ,

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Speaker for Minister Shaked

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) spoke out against the "constitutional revolution" in a speech at the "Legal Year" conference in Haifa.

Shaked quoted the words of the former head of the Constitution Committee, Uriel Lynn, at the time when the basic laws were being legislated, who stated the real intention of the legislators of these laws.

"We are not transferring the weight of the law to the High Court. We are not doing as suggested in the Basic Law: Legislation. There is no room for a constitution which confers special powers on the courts to cancel laws. The power has not been transferred to the court system, it remains in this house. If it is apparent from our experience with this law that we have erred and the interpretation given to the law is not according to the original intention of the legislators, the Knesset maintains the prerogative to modify the law. I am against establishing a constitutional court, as I think that you give excessive power to a narrow group of judges whose interpretations will cause the cancellation of laws in Israel," said Lynn. Shaked quoted his words and added "I am convinced that the intention of the legislators is clear and understood."

Shaked emphasized the problematic aspects of the new situation. "Since then, the High Court has been disqualifying laws which do not comply in its opinion with basic laws. I ask you, is the definition of a 'law which suits Israel's values' measurable? When one examines whether a particular law complies with Israel's values, is there one answer to the question or many answers? Is there any significance to the value system which a judge carries with him? I think the answer is clear as daylight. It is obvious that in such a case one's personal philosophy plays a part and it is the basis for any decision which will be taken."

"Personal opinions do not just come to play in disqualifying laws. They often express themselves when applying amorphous legal terms, such as the concept of 'reasonable' behavior. The realm of appointments is an area in which the borders have become blurred in a way which harms the public interest. Over the years, there have been cases in which, due to a statement of a person, his appointment was delayed or prevented, such as in the case of Minister Yoav Galant who was slated to become Chief of Staff."

Shaked said that "The executive authority must be allowed to make its considerations. What occurred during the Baron-Hevron case (when a public servant, Ronny Baron was appointed attorney-general in return for his political support for the Hevron agreement) will not repeat itself. Every appointment undergoes public observation and when we appoint judges to the High Court we must take into account their professionalism but also the value system he carries with him.

Shaked was asked about the Attorney-General's decision to open an inquiry regarding the submarine purchase. She answered that "I am not aware and do not intervene in criminal investigations. The role of the Attorney General is almost impossible. There are very few people who can fill this role. There are three main challenges it presents: Not to give in to media and political demands to open investigations when there is no reasonable suspicion of felony, not to let personal feelings as an advisor influence one's decisions to open criminal proceedings and not to use one's power as head of the prosecution to threaten politicians on professional issues when there are differences of opinion. Mandelblit manages to succeed in overcoming all of these challenges. He is straight as a ruler, professional and humble."