Unfortunately, the visit of Justice Beinisch has been cancelled due to travel difficulties.
The Hon. Dorit Beinisch
Former President and Justice, Supreme Court of Israel
in conversation with
The Hon. Diana Gribbon Motz
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Phoebe A. Haddon
Dean and Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Monday, November 5
12:00 -1 p.m.
Ceremonial Moot Court Room
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
500 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Admission is free and open to the public, but your
RSVP is required.
Contact Linda Brown (410.706.2070) with questions.
Co-sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association.
Justice Beinisch's Biography:
Dorit Beinisch was the 9th president of the Supreme Court of Israel and the first woman to serve in this role. Appointed on September 14, 2006, she served in this position until February 28, 2012.
Beinisch was born February 28, 1942, in Tel Aviv. Her father, Aharon Werba, a civil servant, immigrated to Palestine from Poland in 1933. Her mother, Chava, was a kindergarten teacher in Tel Aviv. Beinisch served in the Israeli Defense Forces, where she reached the rank of lieutenant.
In 1967, she received her Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.) from the Hebrew University and two years later she completed her Master of Laws (LL.M.) summa cum laude at the same university, while apprenticing in the Justice Ministry. Beinisch began her long public service career when she joined the Ministry of Justice in 1967, doing her legal intership in the legislation department. She would serve in the Ministry of Justice for 28 years, holding the most senior positions and becoming the first woman in Israel to serve in these positions.
Between 1967 and 1969, Beinisch served as Assistant in the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office until she completed her master's degree, moving up in 1970 to become Senior Assistant to the State Attorney. From 1975 to 1982, she served as the Director of the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law in the State Attorney’s Office. She represented the state before the Supreme Court in constitutional and administrative cases. From 1982 through 1988 she served as the Deputy State Attorney. She played an instrumental role in prosecuting some of the state’s most difficult cases, whose impact is felt to this day. She collected evidence for the Kahan commission which investigated the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
Beinisch served as the State Attorney of Israel from 1989 to 1995, the first woman in Israel to hold this position. In this position, she directed all government litigation in all levels of courts, took part in forming the State’s policy in criminal, constitutional and civil fields, and was responsible for all the professional aspects of legal representation of the state of Israel in the courts. She supervised the lengthy investigation, trial and eventual conviction of then Shas Party chairman and former interior minister Aryeh Deri. She represented the state before the Supreme Court in a variety of cases, especially significant constitutional, administrative and criminal law cases in which she was influential in shaping the state’s policy of protecting democratic values.
Beinisch fought for her professional and legal views regarding controversial issues that were under public and political debate. A leading case was the Kav 300 affair which rocked Israel in 1984, with the revelation that two Palestinian hijackers of an Israeli bus, who had been captured alive by agents of the General Security Service Shin Bet, were executed on the spot. The agents then tried to cover up the killings by lying to an investigative committee. Appointed to handle the case by then attorney general Yitzchak Zamir, Beinisch, together with two other prosecutors, fought against both the government and the Shin Bet to expose the lies.
Beinisch was appointed as a Justice of Israel's Supreme Court in December 1995. She served as chair of the Central Elections Commission. As a Justice, she has handed down important decisions in varied legal fields – protecting human rights while balancing them with public interests.
In September 2006 Beinisch was sworn in as President of the Supreme Court of Israel, after being voted in unanimously, becoming the first woman in Israel to hold this position. As President of the Supreme Court, she was the head of the Israeli judiciary and responsible for managing the court system. She believed that one of her primary tasks as President of the Supreme Court was to safeguard the independence of the Israeli court system and ensure its apolitical character.
In her rulings, Beinisch emphasized the same principles that she fought for during her public career, together with her belief regarding the role of the Supreme Court in a democratic society to protect human and civil rights, with special attention to the rights of women and children, socially vulnerable populations, and immigrant workers. Beinisch emphasized the importance of judicial review of the activities of the executive branch, including the military, as well as the importance of following the rule of law and the principle of non-discriminatory law enforcement, and preserving every person's right of access to court.