The coalition’s intention to override Supreme Court rulings if it rejects a Basic Law for the first time, as is now being argued in the court, was made known by Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana in an interview with the newspaper Yediot Ahronoth.
One of the ideas he wants to forward is the creation of a constitutional court to take the place of the High Court and be composed of more than just judges.
According to Ohana, there is no advantage for the judges in a constitutional court that will be permitted to examine current constitutional concerns even though Israel does not have a constitution and that also discusses values, worldviews, and ideological notions.
It will also be possible for public representatives from a number of sectors to sit on it. One of the numerous bills that will undoubtedly be debated if required is this one.
Ohana warned last week that the Knesset would not “submissively allow itself to be trampled” by the court, adding that the court’s decision to overturn the cancellation of the reasonableness clause could “plunge us into the abyss.”
However, he did not provide specific instructions on what the Knesset would do if the law were to be overturned.
Ohana spoke during a press conference held at the Knesset before this week’s hearing on petitions against the law and another hearing scheduled for next week on a different statute that bars the court from ordering the prime minister to quit. Both laws change the Basic Laws, which the Supreme Court has never yet declared invalid.
Ohana, a member of Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, stated that “Israel is at a crossroads” and that it is more important than ever to balance the three arms of government. “I want to post a stop sign tonight in my capacity as Knesset speaker.”
Ohana said that the court system has unilaterally appropriated authority from politicians to itself ever since 1977, when the Likud first came to power. “Now, with the High Court soon holding discussions on Basic Laws, we are facing a new and dangerous juncture, which could plunge us into the abyss,” he added.
“Israel is a democratic country, and in a democracy, the people are the sovereign. In a democracy, the legal system respects both the people and their chosen representatives as well as the sovereign.
The argument that the court lacks the authority to annul basic laws was made by him. “There is no debate, and there cannot be one, over the question of whether the Knesset has authorized the court to annul the Basic Laws,” he added.
Before addressing the justices, he warned, “This situation will result in an unusual incident in a democratic society.
Recognize the boundaries of your power, not merely those of other branches of government. Recognize that no branch of a democracy has absolute power.