Impeachment by Judicial Review: Israel’s Odd System of Checks and Balances

One of the most intriguing questions in contemporary constitutional theory is why are political power-holders willing to bestow power on courts and to acknowledge their autonomy. In the current paper, I seek to offer an explanation. It focuses on a doctrine developed by the Israeli Supreme Court (ISC) since the early 1990s under which the Court removes office holders from their position by ordinary judicial review proceedings. This doctrine is not founded on any formal constitutional settings, but it had significance influence on the relationships between the judiciary and the political branches, as it was the basis for the removal of several major political figures including ministers and top bureaucrats from office. I argue that one cannot understand the relationships between courts and politics in Israel without bringing this component into account. I describe the development of this practice and its influence on the relationships between courts and politics in Israel.