UPDATEDLast night's lecture by Tarek AlBishry (following his previous - lectures about Egypt in the last two centuries) focused on the history of the Judiciary and its role as a balancing force between the Executive and the Parliament branches. Imagine Baheyya's article about the Judiciary described and narrated first hand by the wonderful AlBishry (who was once head of Magles el-Dawla). Lucky me.
AlBishry started out by explaining that the Judiciary is formed of atomic units (of independant Judges), unlike the hierarchical structure of the Executive government (power flows top down), or the flat representation of the people in Parliament (power flows bottom up). The Judiciary have no material power in hand, except their word - emblematic power (kowa ma3naweyya). They take no initiatives as issues and problems are brought to them to interpret the law (defined by Parliament) to make judgements (to be executed by the Government).
The history of their independance, first law to explicitly state the Judiciary independance by Sabry Abu Alam in 1943, and sidelining them by Nasser, then the various attempts of interference and control by the government including the "Judges Massacre" is very interesting. Baheyya wrote about that history here.
I asked him that the Judges stand these days is turning them from independant atomic units balancing the executive and parliamentary powers, into a mostly cohesive power that is confronting the government directly --which is not their traditional role. He was quickly dismissive of such notion, the notion that the Judges are taking a political stand. They are not, he said. They are simply refusing to do an incomplete job. They can't do their job if they're denied the tools to perform it properly, and so they're asking to have the adequate tools needed to do their jobs. A judge can't rule in a case without the proper facts and papers of the case infront of him, a surgeon can't operate without the proper tools in the operating room. Can't send a surgeon into an operating room bare handed. I thought it was a bit of a defensive and diplomatic answer, but apparently the Judges who are taking this stand will be coming under intense pressures and attacks in the coming period --which will be hard to survive.
When asked on how he foresees the Judges stand progressing, the probabilities of how things can turn out, and if it is likely that another "Judges Massacre" can occur, he wouldn't answer, claiming that he can't read the future.
UPDATE: Tarek AlBishry analyses the constitution amendment, elections, and reform in an article he wrote this week here.