Coalition lawmakers spar over bill giving politicians more power to elect judges

June 21, 2013 02:41

Legislation, submitted by coalition chairman Levin, makes the number of MKs and ministers on the Judicial Selection Committee equal to that of judges and lawyers.

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YARIV LEVIN 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Coalition parties have found yet another point of contention this week in a bill by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) that would give politicians increased powers in electing judges.

Yesh Atid MK Adi Kol said she is appalled by Levin’s bill, which she called “an attempt to harm the High Court’s authority and stop the separation of powers that is the basis of democracy.”

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The legislation, which was submitted this week, makes the number of MKs and ministers on the Judicial Selection Committee equal to that of judges and lawyers.

Levin wrote in the bill’s explanatory portion that it is meant to make the committee “credibly express the variety of opinions in the public, while giving the votes of professionals and academics an appropriate weight.”

“This proposal strengthens the principle of separating powers and the rule that no power should elect itself,” he added.

According to Levin, the current system of selecting judges gives the judicial branch of government – judges and Bar Association representatives – an automatic majority in the committee.

Kol, however, said “the whole purpose [of the bill] is to make the courts subordinate to political considerations of MKs and ministers.”

“Such a thing cannot exist in a democratic country,” Kol added, calling for MKs to prevent the legislation from being passed, at any price.

In the US, only politicians are involved in federal judge appointments. Judges and Bar Association representatives may make recommendations or even nominate themselves, but the president appoints all federal judges, and his choices must be confirmed by the senate.

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