Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where the Supreme Court Has Failed

I’ve been avoiding commenting on the Emanuel case, on one hand I am against any type of racism, particularly within the Jewish Community, on the other hand I think that it is the right of parents to set religious standards for their schools, and it seems that the sfardi girls who were being excluded from the school in Emanuel were excluded based on their religious standards, not their ethnic background.

That said, I think that the Supreme Court overplayed its hand by sending parents to prison. If they wanted to fine the school or close the school down, that would have been reasonable, but sending parents to jail sounds more like a power play than a reasonable way to enforce the law.

However, I think that there is a bigger problem with the Supreme Court and it has been a problem for many years, and that is that the Court is nor perceived as being neutral or fair.

Leaders of the religious community, the “Settler” community, the Arab community have all accused the Supreme Court of bias. If the only segment of Israeli society that regard the court as fair is the “Liberal Secular” then we have a real problem.

Again, the problem is one of appearance, even is bias is not really there.

If the leadership of the Black, or Mormon, or Asian community in the US claimed that the Supreme Court was biased against them, and were able to organize demonstrations across the country protesting against the Court, that would indicate that the court has a credibility issue within that community.

If the court did not address the issue, by meeting with leaders of minority communities, getting more minority representation on the court, or other methods, it would not matter whether there was real bias or not, the court would have lost all credibility within that community, making it almost impossible do make any ruling which effects that community that would be accepted willingly by the community.

In Israel the perception of bias has gone on for decades. This is not the first time that there have been massive Heredi demonstrations against the Supreme Court, and the court has done little, if anything to convince the Haredi, or religious Zionist community that they are not biased against them.

This perception of bias undermines the authority of the court, and contributes to the breakdown of law in the country as a whole.

Releasing the Slonim parents from jail, and meetings between the Supreme Court judges and leaders in the Slonim community would be a good step in restoring the credibility of the court. Unfortunately, I don’t see the court as regarding its own credibility as a worthwhile venture.