Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to High Court petitions against a recently passed law barring the court or the attorney general from removing a prime minister from office, saying that such a move would contravene the basic foundations of democracy.
Citing Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, Netanyahu’s attorney insists in his response that a recusal ordered by the High Court of Justice or the attorney general would contravene democracy, and that the legislation approved in March merely codified this principle.
In the response filed by Michael Rabello, Netanyahu’s legal counsel argues that the court has no authority to intervene in the legislation since it is an amendment to one of Israel’s quasi-constitutional Basic Laws which, he contends, can only be reviewed by the Knesset.
Rabello maintains similarly that the court has no authority to “interpret” that the law should come into effect at a later date, as it has indicated it may do, to avoid the problematic manner in which the legislation was ostensibly tailored for Netanyahu specifically.
“Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Rabello writes, quoting Lincoln, adding, “in a democracy, the nation chooses who will lead it.”
Rabello also rejects arguments about the custom-tailored nature of the legislation, insisting that despite its timing it is formulated in a general and long-term manner, and therefore does not fit the criteria for the court’s doctrine of “misuse of constituent authority” by which the law might be struck down or re-interpreted.
A hearing on the legislation before an 11-justice panel is scheduled for next Thursday.
In August, the High Court issued an injunction demanding that Netanyahu and the Knesset explain why it should not delay implementation of the law to circumvent the personal aspect of the measure.