In a historic gathering, all 15 High Court judges convened yesterday to deliberate a pivotal amendment to the Basic Law: Judiciary. This amendment seeks to cancel the court's use of the Reasonableness Clause when scrutinizing government actions, including those of ministers and public officials. Notably, this is the first hearing in any of the judicial overhaul's laws.
ACRI voiced grave concerns, asserting that the potential damage to human and civil rights qualifies as the kind of extreme and exceptional circumstance that warrants Supreme Court intervention. ACRI joined forces with 37 other human rights organizations and participated as an Amicus of the Court in the proceedings. In preparation to the hearing, we published ACRI's Guide: Everything you Need to Know Regarding Repealing the Reasonableness Clause.
Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, representing ACRI, argued in court that as democratic institutions weaken, especially with unqualified appointments, human rights suffer. This suggests that when we request the gatekeepers' intervention in governmental decisions affecting human rights, they might hesitate to act to avoid clashes with ministers. Often, government decisions are not the result of malicious intent but rather by the government's areas of blindspots and oversight. It is precisely these appeals for discussion and oversight that bring these issues to light, underscoring their significance. In the current era, the danger to democracy doesn't solely arise from catastrophic measures, often enforced through violent methods. The real concern lies in subtler actions that, when accumulated, can fundamentally transform the nature of the regime. While each of these actions on its own may not appear to be the "democracy's end," their cumulative effect can lead to either dictatorship or a democracy devoid of its core values.
ACRI was interviewed in many major international media outlets that appeared in preparation for the hearing and throughout the day. These include: The Washington Post, The Associated Press, ABCNews, The Guardian, and Financial Times.
Following a 13-hour long hearing, the judges will now deliberate, and we expect to receive their decision between November and January. As we wait this important decision, we shift our focus on the Knesset up and coming session that will start on October 15, and the continuation of the legislative and democratic crisis.
In recent months, we've encountered numerous challenges and uncertainties, navigating a winding path. Throughout, your unwavering support has been instrumental.
As we venture into the coming year, remain firm in our mission to defend democracy and protect human rights in Israel. Together, we can be the beacon of hope, ensuring these fundamental values endure.
Noa Sattath Executive Director Association for Civil Rights in Israel