Permit Civil Servants to Demonstrate Against Violation of Democratic Values
ACRI submitted a request to join an appeal submitted by the Israel Democracy Guard on behalf of Shaul Cohen, an attorney employed by the Ministry of Justice, as an amicus curiae. The appeal was submitted to the National Labor Court with a request to permit employees of the government’s legal service to participate in protests against attempts to weaken the legal system and legal counsel, and against undermining democratic governance and values.
In the request, ACRI claimed that the sweeping directive prohibiting all employees of the legal service from participating in demonstrations on almost any subject, does not meet the test established by the court ruling for imposition of restrictions on freedom of expression in general, and public servants’ freedom of expression in particular. We further claimed that protecting fundamental values of the rule of law and basic human rights, to which every substantive democracy is inherently obligated, is not political. These values are neither partisan nor political, and do not constitute legally defined “political matters,” such that speaking of them does not compromise the public’s trust in government services. Thus, prohibiting Ministry of Justice employees from attending demonstrations against the judicial overhaul constitutes a disproportionate violation of freedom of expression and protest.