21stCenturyJudaism.com

The website of Rabbi Moshe Pitchon

Why the supremacy of law we may be asked.

 

In the name of “democracy,” of course. 

Is this the democratic way whereby five or seven or eleven people, who have not been elected by the nation, can abolish by their decision, which is called a “legal ruling,” a decision that was made in the form of law by the nation’s elected?

 

 This is a misleading question. The democracy that is represented by the person who asks this question is but a distortion of the concept of government by the people. 

 

It is possible to ask an opposing question: will this democracy of one person, or eleven or fifteen people called “ministers,” deprive the nation of its elementary rights and motivate “their majority” in the house of representative to accept “a law” whereby every soldier and policeman, is allowed to arrest and jail any person that will be suspicious in his eyes, or to enter the house of a civilian and conduct a search in it or to open the citizen’s mail including his family letters? 

 

Is this not counterfeit democracy whose real content is tyranny? Are such laws as these and others like them in substance, through the imposing of fear on the civilian public, not liable thereby to cause that the nation will no longer be qualified when the election day comes to freely choose between the heads of the government and those opposed to them?

 

          

  Since we have closely observed the ways a government machine can operate, also that of non-totalitarian regimes and even a multi-party one, we have certainly learned to distinguish between the form and the content.

 

We have learned that an elected parliamentary majority can be an instrument in the hands of a group of rulers and act as camouflage for their tyranny. Therefore, the nation must, if it chooses freedom, determine its rights also with regard to the House of Representatives in order that the majority thereof, which serves the regime more than it oversees it, should not negate these rights.

 

It is possible to achieve this only through “the supremacy of law,” which is to say, fixing the civil freedoms as “the fundamental law” or “supreme law” and permitting the panel of judges to cancel the validity of the law if, in opposition to the fundamental law, it contradicts civil freedoms.”

 

MENAHEM BEGIN: Basic Outlines of Our Life-Worldvies and Our National Outlook, pp. 26-28