Prime Minister Bloomberg?
If the ex-mayor is so upset about judicial reform in Israel, here’s an idea.
“Bloomberg’s Disappointing Side” is the headline over one of the most-remembered editorials we issued on Hizzoner. It listed his “spinelessness, his tendency to pander, his disregard for political loyalty, his self-righteousness.” His allegiance only to himself. His abuse of public resources. His arrogance. His hypocrisy. His combination of grandiosity and smallness. It added that he was as “oleaginous” as John Kerry.
Then again, too, that love letter was before Mr. Bloomberg’s piece this week in the Times, where the erstwhile mayor of New York wheeled on Israel over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to recover the powers seized by Israel’s Supreme Court and let the voters have a greater say in the affairs of state. It capped Mr. Bloomberg’s long and admirable support of Israel with what must be, even for him, an unmatched act of fecklessness.
What gets us about all this is that the first editorial, the one about “Bloomberg’s Disappointing Side,” was also about a Supreme Court. In that case, it was America’s own. Mr. Bloomberg came out against confirmation of President George W. Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg pointedly feared that Chief Justice Roberts would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Yet it turns out that when Roe v. Wade was finally reversed, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Chief Justice Roberts was the only conservative on the entire court who filed an opinion resolving Mississippi’s case while leaving Roe intact. So not only did Mayor Bloomberg betray the Republicans but he did so for, from his point of view, no reason. In the end, it looks like he just got a case of the nerves.
As, by our lights, the ex-mayor is doing again in respect of the crisis over the high court in Israel. This overreaction is, by our lights, well marked by Professor Dershowitz in his two-part column just issued in the Sun. Part One is here and Part Two is here. The professor, who’s worked this problem, does not doubt that Israel’s democracy would survive, even were Mr. Netanyahu to get his reforms, most of which Mr. Dershowitz opposes.
We favor having the Knesset as the decider of what powers to delegate to the Supreme Court and oppose the court having a role in selecting its own judges. Mr. Netanyahu’s concerns, in any event, are of an ilk with those of many parliamentary democracies. Some of the countries stuck with these parliamentary systems — Britain, say, or Israel — don’t even have a written constitution, for crying out loud.
No wonder the Supreme Court in Israel has run off the rails. Imagine how Americans would feel if the Supreme Court — ours currently includes a majority of conservatives — told President Biden that he couldn’t name whom he wanted for his cabinet simply because the Supreme Court deemed the appointments “unreasonable.” Which just happened in Israel in respect of Aryeh Deri.
Which brings us back to Mr. Bloomberg. We often encouraged him to run for president. In the event, he ran for the Democratic nomination in 2020 — opposing his own campaign against crime in New York. Alas, he spent nigh a billion dollars only to win 59 delegates. So his last hope could be to run for Prime Minister in Israel. If he won we could see how he’d react — we can hazard a guess — to being overruled by its Supreme Court.