Friday, July 08, 2005

Political dreying is generally unrewarding and political dreying in Israel is especially unrewarding. Sometimes it seems like the only possible source of pleasure in this area is spite.

Yesterday, I got some spiteful pleasure. A prominent right-of-center research institute in Jerusalem assembled a gathering of jurists, academics and politicians to discuss the constitution. I got to speak after a baritone-voiced former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (BVFCJ). Although BVFCJ preceded the era of insane political intervention by the Court, he is an outspoken defender of the Court and the method by which it stacks itself. He is also exceedingly pompous and imperturbable.

I gave my drasha on the appointments process and the dangers of hyper-activism by the court. BVFCJ grew increasingly apoplectic. When he was given an opportunity to make closing remarks, he asked rhetorically and with evident disdain: Is the American system, in which the president appoints judges from his own ideological camp, more democratic? Is the German system, in which judges alternate between two parties, preferable? He was speaking so self-importantly slowly that I had ample time to interject: Yes. That is preferable to our system in which judges alternate between a single party.

He was, um, unhappy. But for me, it was pure spiteful pleasure. You can fargin me that much occasionally, no?


Anonymous daat y said...

absolutely.Especially in Israel.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous said...

Kol Hakavod. I studied Intro to Cons. Law this year with the son of a former justice on the Israeli high court. The issue of the appointments process never came up during the court - that's how little credence it is given as a topic for discussion. I can assure you that many other less relevant topics in the Judges Law were discussed. When I mentioned this to the teaching assistant, she replied to me that the American system is no better - look at how political the Bush v. Gore decision was. When I pointed out that the alignment of the judges in Bush v. Gore didn't necessearily reflect the party of the President who appointed them and/or the party in control of the Senate that confirmed them - I was met with a blank stare. This is a teacher with an Ll.M from a leading university who teaches the tirgulim at two Israeli law schools where this professor teaches. The professor himself has all but admitted to the Constution Ctte tha the method for choosing justices for at least the high court should be changed - but refuses to discuss this in class. This was all noted in the evaluation forms I handed in.

10:06 AM  

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