Judicial rhetoric, government lawyers, and human rights: The case of the Israeli High Court of Justice during the Intifada

Yoav Dotan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many studies suggest that courts fail to protect individual rights since they support and uphold state repressive practices during periods of emergency or confrontation. Previous studies focused on judicial policies as reflected in judicial declarations and decisions that were fully disposed by judges and officially published. I argue that the study of out-of-court settlements and the comparison between the outcomes of settlements and the judicial rhetoric are key to understanding the behavior of courts in times of national crisis. At such times, courts may hesitate to openly confront the government on the issue of minority rights, but they may strive to protect minorities by exerting pressure on the governmental legal apparatus and by effecting out-of-court settlements more favorable to minorities than official decisions. Thus, courts influence social practices while avoiding government or public opinion counterreactions that would impair their institutional autonomy. This argument is demonstrated in a case study of the Israeli High Court of Justice during the Palestinian Intifada.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)319-363
Number of pages45
JournalLaw and Society Review
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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