Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was responding to a legitimate concern when he issued a decree that curbs the powers of Egypt’s judicial branch. The Supreme Administrative Court, stacked with judges from the Hosni Mubarak era, has a history of bogus rulings. It upheld a decision to dissolve the entire lower house of parliament on a technicality, apparently because the body was dominated by Morsi’s fellow members of the Muslim Brotherhood, enemies of the old regime. The court also dissolved a 100-member elected assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution. It may have been preparing to dissolve the new assembly as well. Morsi was right to prevent that from happening. The new constitution must be written.
He should have stopped there — but he didn’t. Morsi went on to decree that the courts can’t overturn any of his decisions until the new constitution is unveiled. That amounts to a vast expansion of presidential powers — far more authority than any president should have.