Longtime Cardozo Professor Chosen for Israeli Supreme Court

Co-Directors of Cardozo’s Israeli Supreme Court Project Comment on Former Cardozo Professor Alex Stein’s Appointment to The Israeli Supreme Court

In the upcoming months, Justices Uri Shoham and Yoram Danziger will step down from the Israeli Supreme Court. On Thursday, February 22, the Judicial Selection Committee chose their successors: Professor Alex Stein of Brooklyn Law School and Lod District Court Judge Ofer Groskopf.  Groskopf, 49, will fill the seat being vacated by Justice Danziger (five years before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70). Stein, 60, will be sworn in in August to replace Justice Shoham. (For coverage, see articles in the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and The Times of Israel.)

Alex Stein

For us at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Professor Stein’s appointment is especially exciting.  Alex spent more than a decade, from 2004–2016, teaching at Cardozo. We know we speak for the entire Cardozo faculty in saying that he is a brilliant scholar and an insightful and generous colleague. The academy’s loss is the Court’s and the country’s gain. Press coverage of his appointment is focused (of course, and just as it always is regarding Supreme Court appointments in this country) on the future justice’s ideology, describing his appointment as part of a (continued) shift to the right for the Court.  Ideology counts, and presumably Justice Minister Shaked, who was Alex’s champion in the selection process, has reasons for confidence in her choice.  But we would add two cautionary notes. First, most of what the Court does is not profoundly political and ideological, and Alex brings enormous expertise in areas of private law and procedure which will enable him to make important contributions to the less visible but no less vital work of the Court.  Second, Alex is intellectually confident, makes up his own mind, and follows the law and the facts where they lead. Our guess is that as a justice he will end up disappointing people on all points of the ideological spectrum at some point or another — which will be a sign that he is doing his job.

Future Justice Stein will be speaking at Cardozo on March 8 as part of the conference, The Israel Supreme Court at a Moment of Transition: Looking Back, and Looking Forward, with Justices Naor, Rubinstein, & Joubran, presented by Cardozo’s Israel Supreme Court Project and Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. The event will focus on three Court retirees: President Naor, Deputy President Rubinstein and Justice Joubran. Stein’s selection to the Court adds a powerful symbolism to what was already going to be a fascinating event.

For more information on the conference click here.

— Professors Michael Herz and Suzanne Stone