- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010


The U.S. Senate’s confirmation process for Supreme Court justices has taken a turn toward ad hominemattacks on a foreign Supreme Court judge: Aharon Barak (“The case against Kagan,” Web, Opinion, June 24).

Watching the confirmation hearings of Solicitor General Elena Kagan this week - as well as the soliloquies of Sens. Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl and others taking potshots at Judge Barak, the former president judge of the Israeli Supreme Court - both shocked and troubled me. I doubt these senators know an iota about the Israeli legal system or Judge Barak’s judicial philosophy other than sound bites or sentences they were fed by their staff or others. The enmity these senators demonstrated belies their public face and their supposed religious and moral convictions. More than likely, if asked to expound upon those convictions, they would have told us they followed the golden rule.

What advantage were these senators seeking to gain by dragging Judge Barak’s name through the proverbial mud? They seemed to be relying in large part on the rather rude opinions of others, such as legal scholar Robert Bork, who has stated that Judge Barak is the “worst judge that has ever lived.”

Such coarse and vulgar criticisms are also an insult to the state of Israel and its citizens. We in Israel hold Judge Barak in high esteem, regardless of his judicial philosophy. Why? Because he represented and continues to represent many of our ideals in the development of Israel’s legal system, the state of Israel itself and Israeli institutions.


Faculty of law

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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