The new Israeli Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, has presented a controversial reform project. An exception clause would strengthen MPs’ power over the courts.
Yariv Levin, Israel’s new justice minister, has unveiled a reform project that would allow elected politicians to overturn Supreme Court decisions. “There are judges, but there is also a parliament and a government,” Levin said on Wednesday. Democracy is “in danger” if “every time unelected people decide for us”. Levin’s proposals include an “exception clause” that would allow Parliament to overturn a Supreme Court decision on a simple majority vote.
Israel has no constitution. The Supreme Court can overrule laws passed by Parliament if it finds them discriminatory. If Parliament approved the reform, MPs could overrule such a decision and reinstate the laws.
“A law passed by Parliament can no longer be overturned by a judge,” Levin said when presenting the plans to the media. “It is up to the elected government to decide the laws.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took over government business in Israel last week. He has allied himself with far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties and heads the far-right government in Israeli history.
Political scientists say the exemption clause could also allow action in favor of the prime minister in his court case: if MPs vote to grant immunity to Netanyahu, who is currently on trial on corruption charges, and the Supreme Court invalidates it, Parliament could decide override again.