Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The one-sided reporting of Reuters crop of radical left-wingers

In a story on a bill passed by the Israeli Parliament yesterday which would give the legislative branch of government additional oversight associated with appointments to the Israeli Supreme Court, the radical leftist Editor-in-Charge of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau, Jeffrey Heller, offers an entirely one-sided view of the legislation and the stature of the Court:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative government came under attack on Tuesday for promoting legislation critics said would weaken the independence of Israel's judiciary.
Parliament on Monday passed a government-backed amendment that paves the way for an ally of conservative lawmakers to be appointed chief of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is held in high public regard and, in a country that does not have a constitution, is seen as an independent-minded watchdog overseeing the legislature and guarantor of civil rights.
Separate legislation that would change the composition of a legal committee appointing Supreme Court judges also received preliminary approval on Monday. Critics say if the bill is finalised, the committee would be packed with more right wingers as a result.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, of the centrist Kadima party, accused Netanyahu of trying to "change the character of the nation" with the legislative moves.
Since Reuters fails, as always, to provide any balance in a story that might enlighten readers, in this case unfamiliar with the Israeli Supreme Court and its nearly unprecedented power to dictate and subvert laws passed by Parliament, we will apparently have to plug the gap.  Here's the rest of the story, courtesy of one of Israel's most eloquent writers, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick:
Since [Supreme Court President Dorit] Beinisch's professional godfather, retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, enacted his "judicial revolution" in the 1990s, Israel's judicial system has been without parallel in the Western world. Under Israel's judicial selection system, judges effectively appoint themselves. And since Barak's presidency of the Supreme Court, justices have used this power to ensure ideological uniformity among their ranks. Jurists opposed to judicial activism have been largely blocked from serving on the High Court, as have jurists with non-leftist politics.

Not only do Israel's judges appoint themselves, they have empowered themselves to cancel laws of the Knesset.

Under Barak's dictatorial assertion that "everything is justiciable," the Court has given standing to parties that have no direct - and often no indirect - connections to the subjects of their petitions. In so doing, the Court has managed to place itself above the government and the Knesset.

In recent years, the Court has canceled duly legislated laws of the Knesset and lawful policies of the government and the IDF. Its decisions have involved everything from denying Jews the right to build Jewish communities on Jewish land, to requiring the state to compensate Palestinians for damages they incur while fighting Israel, to changing the route of the security barrier, to barring radio broadcasts by the right-wing Arutz Sheva station.

The Knesset's efforts to pass laws that would curb the Court's now unlimited powers are simply attempts to place minimal legal checks on judicial power. One bill under discussion would require Supreme Court nominees to undergo hearings at the Knesset before their nominations are approved. Under the proposed law, the unelected Judicial Appointments Committee would remain responsible for nominating and approving justices. It's just that the public, through its representatives in the Knesset, would have the opportunity to find out a bit about who these people are before their appointments are voted on.

Another proposed law would seek to water down the legal fraternity's control over judicial appointments by making a slight change in the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee.

If both of these laws passed tomorrow, Israel's Supreme Court would still be more powerful than any other Supreme Court in the Western world. The government would still have nearly no say in who gets appointed to the bench.
Read it all.

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