Jun 18, 2015

Proposed Law: convicted felons not serving in high office

MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) has proposed a law that will go next week to the Committee for Legislation to be prepared for voting. Lapid's law proposal deals with corruption in government.

Lapid has proposed a law by which a Prime Minister, minister in government, MK or mayor of a city who would be convicted of a crime that bears moral turpitude (kalon, in Hebrew) would no longer be able to run for the office of mayor, MK or become Prime Minister or minister, or even deputy minister, in government..

The purpose of the law would be to discourage corruption, but more importantly to declare that such a person has lost the faith of the people and is unworthy of serving as a public representative. Having corrupt people serves in offices makes the public lose its faith in government.

good law, in my opinion. I hope it passes.

I did a little bit of research. In the United States, the Constitution does not prevent a convicted felon from  running for federal office. The House of Representatives and Congress have the ability to remove someone they deem unworthy of serving, though this is not true of the Senate. Who can hold State office is determined by State law rather than federal law, and most states have rules in place that prevent anyone convicted of various crimes like embezzlement, bribery, breach of the public trust, fraud, etc. from running for State office.

I think it is a good law. Unfortunately I don't see how it can pass, as there are members of the coalition for whom this would not work.




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10 comments:

  1. The bigger problem with this bill is the subjective interpretation of the term kalon. One person's kalon is another's normal way of doing business. These definitions are usually decided after the fact by the courts, which leads to the impression (if not the actual problem) of them getting into politics.

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  2. Sigh. Your last line says it all. Great idea. Can't pass, though.

    Yehoshua's comment is correct; but a society should still make moral statements.

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  3. This is an insulting, paternalistic law. It should be up to the voters to decide whether to elect someone to high office. No one else should be predetermining who voters can consider.

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    Replies
    1. Your claim would be valid in America, where legislators are voted on directly. Here, a slate is chosen, usually be a committee without any input from voters. It is not reasonable to expect a voter to not vote for a party because one person on that list has engaged in criminal activity.

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    2. Agree. Time in prison is punishment and rehabilitation. Jews believe in Tshuva.

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    3. Josh, do you have any evidence that Aryeh Deri has performed any sort of teshuva?

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    4. Nachum, do you have evidence he has not?

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    5. the articles I have read in general about the possibility of Deri serving as minister (both before and after the elections) all claimed that Deri never expressed remorse and has always maintained his innocence.
      halachic teshuva I do not know about, but public teshuva for the crime he was convicted of committing - if the articles are correct, he hasn't done teshuva.

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  4. How about a law preventing criminals serving time in jail/prison from voting?

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    Replies
    1. That used to be the law - in addition, diplomats serving overseas also couldn't vote. Then Labor and Likud together decided to give them both the ability to vote - because most of the diplomats voted labor and most of the convicts voted Likud.

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