Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creating Constitutional Stability is Lots of Work

Our post yesterday about authorizing a commemorative stamp for Eleanor Roosevelt touched upon the question of whether the president had the authority to make such weighty decisions. Moreover, the cabinet evaded the question rather than answering it, and this was 15 years after the creation of the state. Constitutional principles, it turns out, are fine things to have, but they still leave wriggle room and wobble space, and these get dealt with in an incremental process which takes years, or decades, or centuries.

Here's another very similar example: in August 1955, President Izhak Ben Zvi complained to the Minister of Justice, Pinchas Rosenne, that although notionally he was supposed to appoint Israel's diplomats, in practice he often read about them in the newspaper before anyone ever informed him. Rosenne and his fellow ministers agreed among themselves that he had a point [p.7-8].

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