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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

‘Jews Not a Minority’ Laura Ingraham May Be Trump’s Press Secretary

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Radio talk show host, best-selling author, and conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham is on the short list to become President Elect Donald Trump’s press secretary, The Hill reported Saturday night. Ingraham, who began her career as a Supreme Court law clerk and white-collar defense attorney, helped Trump with debate preparation, offered occasional strategic advice, and campaigned for the Republican candidate, using her spots as Fox News contributor and her nationally syndicated radio show.

A renowned rightwing ideologue, in 2014 Ingraham endorsed Dave Brat in his primary challenge to then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Cantor’s upset defeat shocked the Republican establishment and created the psychological milieu that helped make a revolutionary candidate like Trump acceptable to party voters, against the wishes of the party leadership. In May, Ingraham made headlines when she admitted she had forgotten that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was Jewish. Speaking on her radio show, Ingraham said, “Well, now they’re saying, ‘How dare you, Bernie. How dare you stay in this race.’ Now, what if Bernie were a minority? … What if he were a 74-year-old black man … Would you think they’d be telling him to get out of the race? I don’t think so.”

A moment later, after receiving a tweet from a listener, Ingraham corrected herself: “Oh, OK, you’re reminding me. Bernie is a minority. He’s Jewish. OK. See I don’t think of Jewish people as minorities because they’re so successful and so. But, yeah, that’s technically correct so I appreciate that correction on our Twitter feed.”

A Roman Catholic, Ingraham is clearly a supporter of Israel. Appearing on Fox News’ The Kelly File in February 2015, she said, “I think Israel has become for the left the new South Africa. Remember, in the 1980s, it was the divestment movement from South Africa. … And now it’s divest from Israel. Israel is the less, you know favorite, you know, whipping post of fury and anger and outrage, because remember, if Israel’s an ally of the United States, Israel must be bad because the United States is bad.”

Ingraham made headlines after her speech at the GOP convention, when she wore a huge, gold cross and threw her arm up in a gesture that, from one angle, looked like a Hitler salute. She didn’t, of course, but in the midst of the campaign this was fodder for a full news cycle.

In April 2016, Ingraham tweeted: “Israel has been snubbed by this Admin…[but] has treated Iran with tender love and care.”

Ingaham, who adopted two boys from Russia (and a girl from Guatemala), could be an asset to the Trump Administration in forging an improved relationship with Russia. She lived in the Soviet Union for a semester at Dartmouth College. “I took Russian from eighth grade through most of college,” she told an interviewer in 2013, “so my Russian is pretty good.”

Also, back in the 1990s, Ingraham dated leftwing TV personality “Angry Man” Keith Olbermann. Commenting on one of his tirades against then President GW Bush, Ingraham said, “I believe MSNBC really needs to bring in a medical team at this point. . . . I don’t know what happened to him. I really don’t. He didn’t use to be this way…” Eventually, MSNBC dropped Olberman, for allegedly calling US soldiers “cold blooded killers” (he did, but the quote was taken out of context).

This past week, Ingraham has been twitter-shaming President Obama for not intervening to stop the violent protests against the November elections results. “Where is Pres Obama urging calm?” she tweeted on Saturday. As White House Press Secretary, expect her to be confrontational, if not outright defensive. As The Hill put it, “Selecting Ingraham would send a signal that Trump has no interest in softening his relationships with the Republican leaders in Washington, D.C.”

JNi.Media

Jerusalem Mayor to AG: If You Demolish Amona, Arab Homes Will Follow

Monday, November 7th, 2016

While the Supreme Court is debating a request from the Netanyahu cabinet to postpone the demolition of the Amona community in Samaria by seven months, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has just upped the ante on the same debate, informing AG Avichai Mandelblit that a ruling in favor of the anonymous Arab claimants in Amona would have devastating consequences for some Arab residents of Jerusalem.

According to a Channel 2 News report Sunday, Barkat sent a letter to the AG warning that the Amona ruling would create a precedence by which the sovereign power is compelled to act to prevent the theft of private land and its subsequent settlement. Barkat warned that this precedence would inevitably force his municipality to evict Arab residents from their illegal dwellings in eastern Jerusalem.

“It has been brought to my attention recently that in my city of Jerusalem there are cases which are similar in principle, whereby Arab settlement has been established on Jewish owned land in the eastern part of the city,” Barkat wrote, adding that “there are also city- and government-owned lands which have been settled by Arabs.” Presumably, the mayor refers to lands usurped by the Jordanian government after 1949.

The Mayor assured the AG that he was not eager to settle those open accounts just yet. “As you well know, the city of Jerusalem is complex religiously, nationally and judicially. As a rule I have so far directed various city components to act extra carefully and to seek consistent settlements of such land disputes to the benefit of the public at large, as much as possible. Therefore I hereby request your opinion regarding the ramifications of the Supreme Court ruling and its implementation by the Israeli government on the Jerusalem municipality, especially in the cases which I have described, which we are currently investigating in eastern Jerusalem.”

Should the AG walk into this obvious trap, anything he may say in favor of letting Jerusalem Arabs stay on their stolen Jewish land may be used against him in the high court of law.

JNi.Media

Israel’s Rabbinate Avoids Western Wall Event

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

The Israeli Rabbinate has declined to send a representative to participate in a planned event at the Western Wall later this week after initially agreeing to attend.

The Rabbinate backed out, however, after receiving a notice that a representative from the Reform Movement would also attend the event, planned by the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee.

“It would be best if the Chief Rabbis personally gave their opinions on the matter to the Internal Affairs Committee, rather than through representatives,” said a letter sent to Rabbinate director Moshe Dagan from the offices of the Chief Rabbis. “The Honorable Chief Rabbis have already participated in tours of the Western Wall plaza,” the letter continued,” and have presented their positions on the issue.”

The letter was written in reference to the planned alterations to the Western Wall plaza, adopted by the government in response to a Supreme Court ruling that the Reform Movement be given a separate section at the site in which to worship.

Hana Levi Julian

Shaked Blinks First But Wins Advantage in Contest with High Court President

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

The mark of a statesman—or, in this case, a stateswoman—is their ability to retreat momentarily for the sake of future victories. In her very public and very aggressive contest against Supreme Court President, Justice Miriam Naor, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) collected her winnings and stepped back, knowing she was not yet prepared to pay the full price of a complete victory.

Shaked is spearheading several concurrent moves, all of which have provided the context for a proposed bill by Yisrael Beiteinu MKs—with Shaked’s blessings—to deprive the Supreme Court members of the Judicial Appointments Commission of their veto power over Supreme Court candidates. The moves the Justice Minister was advancing behind the cover of the new bill were a Netanyahu cabinet request for a 7-month delay of the decree to demolish the Amona community in Samaria; a new Regulation Act to compel Arab claimants who prove they own the land belonging to Jewish communities to accept market value as compensation; and a list of appointments to the Supreme Court which the current Court members loath.

Last week, Justice Naor lost her cool, sending a leaked letter to Shaked telling her the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission bill was tantamount to placing a gun on the table. On Sunday the two women met and Shaked eventually consented to putting a temporary lid on her bill — depending on how well the court would deal with her proposed appointments to replace four retiring justices—that’s 4 out of 15—in 2017.

Shaked’s candidates are considered brilliant, and they are also critical of the judicial activism of the court over the past 40 years, since the Likud party for the first time won a decisive electoral victory and relegated the Labor party to what eventually became a perpetual seat with the loyal opposition.

There’s Prof. Gideon Sapir from Bar Ilan University, who has voiced his loud criticism of the high court for neglecting the national component in their decisions. Sapir was harsh in his criticism of the court’s support for the uprooting of Gush Katif’s Jews in 2005.

Then there’s Judge Yosef Elron, who enjoys the backing of Finance Minsiter Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) who is a member of the appointments committee, and also the support of the two members of the bar on the committee. The justices don’t like Elron and prefer to appoint in his place an insider, one of their own, Ron Sokol, the son-in-law of former Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or.

Shaked’s list of 28 candidates also includes Professor Aviad Hacohen, who writes the judiciary column for Shledon Adelson’s daily Israel Hayom, as well as Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Chaled Kabub, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Dr. Michal Agmon-Gonen, Central District Court Judge Menachem Finkelstein, Haifa District Court Judge Yael Willner, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronnen, Central District Court Judge Prof. Ofer Grosskopf, Central District Court Judge Michal Nadav, Jerusalem District Court Judge Tamar Bazak Rappaport, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Gilad Neuthal, Official Receiver General Prof. David Hahn, Adv. Asaf Posner, Prof. Aviad Hacohen, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Dr. Kobi Vardi, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Shaul Shohat, Nazareth District Court Judge Asher Kula, Jerusalem District Court Judge Nava Ben-Or, Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Winograd, Jerusalem District Court Judge David Mintz, Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Sobel, Jerusalem District Court Yigal Mersel, Prof. Haim Sandberg, and Prof. Shahar Lifshitz.

Shaked’s final four will likely include two rightwingers, an Arab and a centrist woman, such as Judge Tamar Bazak Rappaport, who also serves, as Vice Chairman of the Anti-Trust Tribunal, which deals with issues of cartels, monopolies and mergers.

Of the two rivals, Shaked turned out to be the one speaking softly and holding a big stick behind her back. Naor was loud and blustery, and it looks like she got her way — for now. But Shaked did not put down her big stick, and in the long and exhausting struggle the country’s judiciary will be undergoing soon, she likely plans to bring home a few wins.

David Israel

Did Ayelet Shaked Borrow a Page from FDR’s Play Book?

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Is it possible that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) initiated the legislation that so upset Supreme Court President Miriam Na’or not so much to make constitutional changes at a breakneck speed, but instead as a shot across the court’s bow on the future of Amona?

Israeli media are bustling with more and less informed commentary regarding this week’s showdown between Justice Na’or and Justice Minister Shaked. Na’or was so enraged at the insolence of Shaked’s move to promote (tacitly) a bill that deprives the high court of its veto power on high court judicial nominations, that she sent her a written warning, well leaked, about how Shaked’s move was tantamount to placing a gun on the table.

Not exactly what one imagines as “judicial temperament…”

The fact is that Shaked is determined to curb the outrageous activism of Israel’s Supreme Court, begun after the 1977 elections when a Likud-led coalition replaced the country’s uninterrupted 29-year Labor-led rule. Justice Aharon Barak, who began his term on the high court in 1978, was the architect of a brilliant, calculated and patient campaign to usurp many constitutional powers from the elected officials, representing the will of the natural sovereign — the people, for the unelected judicial system.

In her exulted as well as vilified essay this past October (Tracks toward Governing), Minister Shaked detailed the dire need to restrain Israel’s expansionist Judiciary. She noted an ongoing war between the Supreme Court and the executive branch, which necessitates the passing of a new constitutional-level legislation (Foundation Laws in Israel’s system) to regulate once and for all this combative relationship.

In that context, Justice Na’or, despite her aggressive language, is not necessarily out of line in saying that crucial constitutional changes, such as a bill to deprive court representatives of their ability to disqualify Supreme Court judicial candidates at will, deemed serious discussion prior to submission. Which leads me to believe that Shaked, whose own temperament is far cooler than Na’or’s, did not necessarily intend to actually cut the court’s power with the new legislation, but only to scare it a little.

As was made clear from reading Shaked’s essay, she is quite the student of US history and democracy. In that case, she must be aware of the legendary battles between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Supreme Court. FDR taught generations of Poli-sci students how an executive can tame his hostile high court.

Roosevelt won the 1932 presidential election following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression, promising America a “New Deal” for national economic recovery. The 1932 election also gave the Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress, giving Roosevelt legislative support for his reform. Roosevelt and the 73rd Congress called for greater governmental involvement in the economy as a way to end the depression. But a series of successful challenges to New Deal programs were launched in federal courts, and, inevitably, the very constitutionality of much of the New Deal legislation, especially that which extended the power of the federal government, was rejected by the Supreme Court. A series of Supreme Court decisions knocked down major FDR legislation, culminating in Black Monday, May 27, 1935, when Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes arranged for the decisions to be announced from the bench that day to be read in order of increasing importance, after the Court had ruled unanimously against Roosevelt in three separate cases.

In 1936, after a sweeping victory, FDR came back to the battlefield ready to take down the Supreme Court. He proposed to reorganize the federal judiciary by adding a new justice each time a justice reached age seventy and failed to retire. It was the subject of Roosevelt’s 9th Fireside chat of March 9, 1937. The argument FDR made was that it was for the benefit of the court to establish continuity in this manner — but, of course, what he really meant was that he could make the justices irrelevant if they continued to mess with his legislation.

Three weeks after the radio address the Supreme Court published an opinion upholding a Washington state minimum wage law in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish. The 5–4 ruling was the result of the sudden shift by Associate Justice Owen Roberts, who joined with the wing of the bench supportive to the New Deal legislation.

He got the message.

In the spirit of the great architect of the New Deal, the most creative and decisive Justice Minister in Israel’s recent history may be aiming only to throw the fear of God (and the voter) in the hearts of Na’or et al. Currently the Netanyahu government is asking the court to postpone the demolition of Amona, a Jewish community in the liberated territories the court wants to see razed. Meanwhile, Shaked and the Habayit Hayehudi Knesset faction are working on an Regulation Act that will compel Arab claimants to accept market value for their seized land, instead of destroying the communities in question.

Is the new threat Shaked imposes on the future makeup of the Supreme Court only her way of using FDR’s recipe to scare justices? Will there be a behind closed doors deal to exchange Shaked’s killing the new bill in exchange for the court letting the Regulations Act slide?

 

David Israel

Right Won’t Budge as AG Rejects ‘Softer’ Regulations Act

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The Regulation Act, aimed at stopping the hateful phenomenon by which anti-Zionist NGOs haul into court Arabs who claim ownership of Judea and Samaria land where Jewish communities have lived for decades—followed by the court’s decision to raze said communities out of existence—is in its final stages before being submitted for a first reading in the Knesset plenum. The new law will compel the claimants who proves his case in court to accept the same outcome any claimant does over on the 1949 side of the green line, namely, market value compensation, possibly accompanied by a fine if malice was involved.

However, in preparation for the vote on the Regulation Act, authored by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), the law was modified, softened, if you will, to include an option whereby should the claimant be unhappy with the offered compensation, they are allowed to sue in Israeli court.

Several MKs involved in the new legislation have told Makor Rishon that its chances to pass are high. But that does not seem to alter AG Avihai Mandelblit’s objection to the very idea of a Regulation Act, which, as he told Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, would constitute a violation of international law.

A decision to take the bill to a vote would forever alter the relationship between the Netanyahu government and its legal counselors, who so far have been used to riding roughshod over proposed legislation, getting elected ministers to kill bills based strictly on their recommendations, warnings and, occasionally, threats.

“Gone are the days when the politicians were guests and the jurists owned the house,” Likud and Habayit Hayehudi MKs told Makor Rishon this week. Indeed, Amona appears to be merely the excuse for this new confrontation between rightwing legislators and the Supreme Court. The real cause célèbre here is the curbing of Supreme Court powers, something a majority of Israelis appear to crave.

JNi.Media

State Dept. Condemns Jerusalem Housing Construction Amid Hints of Obama ‘November Surprise’

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”

The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).

When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.

“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.

When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”

There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.

The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”

Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.

A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.

Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-dept-condemns-jerusalem-housing-construction-amid-hints-of-obama-november-surprise/2016/11/03/

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