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Judicial Power and National Politics

Courts and Gender in the Religious-Secular Conflict in Israel

Patricia J. Woods

Publication Year: 2008

Uses the case of Israel to examine the circumstances that lead national courts to engage heated political issues. Patricia J. Woods examines a controversial issue in the politics of many countries around the world: the increasing role that courts and justices have played in deeply charged political battles. Through an extensive case study of the religious-secular conflict in Israel, she argues that the most important determining factor explaining when, why, and how national courts enter into the world of divisive politics is found in the intellectual or judicial communities with whom justices live, work, and think about the law on a daily basis. The interaction among members of this community, Woods maintains, is an organic, sociological process of intellectual exchange that over time culminates in new legal norms that may, through court cases, become binding legal principles. Given the right conditions—electoral democracy, basic judicial independence, and some institutional constraints—courts may use these new legal norms as the basis for a jurisprudence that justifies hearing controversial cases and allows for creative answers to major issues of national political contention.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Front Matter

Half Title Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-

Illustrations

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pp. ix-

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xxiii

This book is about judicial power. It is a study of the decisions that justices at the national court level make that thrust them into national politics, increasing their public standing, and increasing judicial power vis-

Content

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1 Judicial Community, Judicial Power, and National Politics

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pp. 1-28

This book tackles an increasingly controversial issue in the politics of many countries around the world. That is, when, why, and how do national courts begin, systematically, to engage heated political issues? Examples abound of both public support and outrage at the increasing role that courts have played in deeply charged political battles. ...

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2 The Israel High Court of Justice and Religious Authorities

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pp. 29-58

In 1988, a heated conflict erupted between state religious authorities in Israel and the Israel High Court of Justice. This clash, which I call the religious law conflict, has become nothing less than a culture war in the Israeli state and the wider society. It became so heated after the 1988 and subsequent HCJ decisions challenging ...

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3 The Irony of State Incorporation

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pp. 59-94

In 1988, the Israel High Court of Justice entered into a virulent and protracted conflict with Jewish religious authorities in Israel; indeed, the conflict continues to this day. That the HCJ, founded on secular principles of general law, should come into conflict with religious authorities was not surprising. ...

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4 Social Movement Lawyers, Judicial Community, and the Countermovement that Binds Them

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pp. 95-120

In this chapter, I begin to explain both the timing and the manner of the HCJ entry into the religious law conflict. I analyze four aspects of the interactions between HCJ justices and social movement cause lawyers that were key to the development of this conflict:1 (1) social linkages between the HCJ justices and ...

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5 Changing Visions, Conflicting Missions: Signaling the Judicial Community

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pp. 121-140

In chapter 4, I argued that the judicial community in Israel—the community of the justices that includes legal scholars, government lawyers, cause lawyers, and clerks and interns—functions as a community of legal norms generation. Lawyers in this community have a fairly good sense of the types of questions and legal arguments ...

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6 Social Movements and Changing Language of the Court: Implicit Alliances and Explicit Coalitions

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pp. 141-174

In the 1980s, three social movements began to bring cases to the Israel High Court of Justice challenging religious authorities in areas that religious authorities had controlled either through the status quo agreements (discussed in chapter 3), legal statute (as in the law defining Jewishness after Shalit), ...

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7 Conclusions: Religion and Gender in National Courts: Suggestions for Further Research

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pp. 175-194

The incorporation of the religious authorities into the fledgling Israeli state was a high priority for early, secular Zionist state leaders, especially David Ben-Gurion as seen in chapter 3 (Avi-Hai 1974; Keren 1983; Pearlman 1965; Rubinstein 1984; Segev 1986). Conceding authority over personal status issues, including family law, ...

Back Matter

Notes

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pp. 195-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-238

Index

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pp. 239-243


E-ISBN-13: 9780791478691
E-ISBN-10: 0791478696
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791473993
Print-ISBN-10: 0791473996

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Series Editor Byline: Russell Stone