Issues & Insights
Signing of the United States Constitution with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton (left to right in the foreground). Painting: Howard Chandler Christy. Public Domain.

Why The U.S. Still Remains A Model For The Rest Of The World

This summer, Israelis mobilized into rival factions in a contentious battle over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform proposals. These reforms would limit the Israeli court’s power to invalidate laws and give lawmaker’s greater control over judicial appointments.

Proponents believe these reforms are needed to prevent the courts from blocking legislation from the Israel’s democratically elected lawmakers, while opponents decry the reforms as undermining liberal democratic principles.

Both sides claim that they represent the mantle of democratic virtue. But watching from afar, Americans should be struck by how lucky we are to have a Constitution that divides the powers of our government among three distinct branches — each with its own critical (and well defined) role to play in preserving American liberty. 

Unlike America, Israel has no written Constitution. Instead, it has “basic laws,” which spell out certain protections for individual liberties and the role of Israel’s government institutions. But basic laws are not the kind of immutable pillars we would recognize in our own Constitution, like freedom of speech or the separation of powers. 

Israel’s quasi-constitutional basic laws can be changed whenever a single party (or coalition of like-minded parties) garners enough votes in the Knesset, Israel’s elected legislature. Imagine if Congress could change the Constitution with just a bare majority vote. We would have much to fear because the ruling party in Congress could do anything unchecked.

Basic laws face a threat from more than just the Knesset. In recent years the Israeli Supreme Court has claimed the authority to overturn basic laws if it believes them to be “unreasonable.” That is wildly different from the American system, where the Constitution binds all three branches of government.

The Framers of the American Constitution recognized an important truth. The concentration of all power — legislative, executive, and judicial — is, as James Madison once said, “the very definition of tyranny.”

That is why we should be fear any breakdown in the separation of powers here at home — whether it’s Congress creating unaccountable regulatory czars, or a president overstepping his constitutional bounds.

The separation of powers, as Justice Antonin Scalia once pointed out, is the key to a free society. When power is concentrated in one department, liberty is always in danger.

There are compelling arguments that both the Knesset and the Israeli courts have become too powerful. And now they are in a sort of stand-off. But because Israel lacks the separation of powers that our Constitution imposes on government, there are no real limits on either institution. The result is a threat to liberty and constant factional conflict while the courts and the legislature compete for power.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear. We Americans should feel a profound sense of gratitude for our Constitution and we should jealously guard the structural protections it provides. 

Luke Wake is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit legal organization that has defended Americans’ liberties when threatened by government overreach and abuse for the last 50 years.  

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  • “Americans should be struck by how lucky we are to have a Constitution that divides the powers of our government among three distinct branches — each with its own critical (and well defined) role to play in preserving American liberty.”


    Maybe for the first two hundred years yes, but after that the Executive branch, by way of Executive Order, has surpassed the enfeebled Legislative branch’s power to balance.

    The Prior administration’s Judicial nominees slowed the slide some yet the outside influence of MONEY paid to foster biased candidates for Attorneys General at the state and federal level may upset whatever balance might have been struck going forward.

    The Constitution we’ve lived under for 234 years as of yesterday is under siege.

  • How I agree with this article. It is so sad and unfortunate that Leftist Thought (and the Progressive imbeciles of the world who take that thought seriously) are so aligned. It is so obvious (at least to me) that Lenin’s dictum is very much in force nowadays.
    He once ascribed the power of the USSR communist party in America as being made of the fanatical vanguard-plus the majority, who he described as “useful fools”.
    Those, in Israel (and I-as an American Jew-have followed this political imbroglio closely) who believe that Netanyahu is Lucifer and (who are also very patriotic and have sacrificed-eg in the IDF-for Israel) are the very epitome of “useful fools”.
    Netanyahu and The Knesset were elected democratically. But-in typical Communist and subversive fashion-the Progressives of Israel see the Supreme Court (who wasn’t elected democratically, but is in large part appointed by other powerful lawyers who are always striving for more power) as the last bastion of democracy in Israel.
    Somehow, they cobble this and conclude from it that Israel’s anti-democratic behavior is due to Netanyahu and The Knesset, the only two bodies that are elected democratically. Notice the Supreme Court is absent in this analysis as being a democratic body. Its Justices are neither elected nor appointed by anyone who is elected democratically.
    It must also be pointed out that Israel doesn’t have a Constitution either so these unelected Justices of the Supreme Court have no Constitutional constraints in deciding a case. The Justices have based all their decisions on what they call “reasonableness”.
    So, while Israelis have voted for a more Conservative government, the Justices are able to rationalize and decide each case depending on their political whims. And this is called, by those “useful fools” who support them, as “democracy” in action!
    “Alice in Wonderland” couldn’t have turned her new world more upside-down and more inside-out.

  • The US Constitution is a model of balance and clarity.

    The US itself is rapidly slipping into a weird combination of anarchy if the left rules unchallenged, and tyranny if the rule of the left is challenged.

    The best constitution in the world is a dead letter if the leaders of the nation simply refuse to follow it.

    Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting Trump, wants a gag order that will make it a crime for Trump and his lawyers to “disparage” any person who is in the pool of possible jurors in a case filed in the District of Columbia. Both President Biden and Vice President Harris reside in Washington, D.C., so they are potential jurors. Jack Smith also wants to gag Trump from “disparaging” the Counsel himself. If granted, the gag order could stop Trump and his lawyers from criticizing the Special Counsel, Biden, Harris, or anybody else who lives in D.C.

    Exactly how can Trump campaign for office, or “petition the government for a redress of grievances”, if a gag order makes it illegal for him to say anything “disparaging” about his opponents? And why the hell should Trump’s lawyers be thrown into prison if they speak the truth and call Jack Smith an idiot?

    Contempt of court is shown when you insult or stonewall the judge, not when the defense says unkind things about the prosecution’s conduct. Jack Smith wants to exert mind control over the defendant, the defense attorneys, and the judge. Perhaps he should change his name to “Jack Sith”, as he seems to think that he can use the evil equivalent of the Jedi mind trick on everyone. He does look more than a bit like Count Dooko, who was secretly Darth Tyranus.

    Many of the January 6 defendants are still awaiting trial two years and nine months after they allegedly committed crimes. They are held in conditions that animal rights activists would find unacceptable for livestock. Their right to a “fair and speedy trial” has been denied. “The process is the punishment” for many of them. It’s “cruel and unusual punishment” to treat them like this, and this is happening even before their trials have convened.

    Special Counsel David Weiss never should have been given the job in the first place. He’s the former US Attorney for Delaware that waited so long to charge Hunter Biden that the statute of limitations ran out for some of the alleged tax violations. His appointment is clearly illegal, as the job description states that “The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government”.

    US Attorney General Garland should be impeached himself for appointing Weiss. He’s clearly just trying to delay justice for as long as he can. He even tried to slip a “get out of jail free” card past the judge by hiding an agreement to grant Hunter Biden immunity for all past crimes as part of a plea deal. That ticked off the judge, and now Hunter may actually stand trial, which is a rare opportunity for true justice to prevail during this Administration.

    The difference between the attitudes of the two Special Counsels, and the far different fates of the January 6 defendants and Hunter Biden, shows that the Constitution needs new guardians. The Biden Administration isn’t just a failure, it’s a disgrace.

    More details are at

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