Israeli MK proposes Knesset should vote in Supreme Court chief

“If the Knesset can choose a state comptroller and president, it can choose a Supreme Court president.”

June 1, 2017 15:44
1 minute read.
Miriam Naor

Miriam Naor. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

As Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor remained at odds over how to choose Naor’s successor, Knesset House Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) on Thursday offered a solution of his own: Have the Knesset vote.

Kisch submitted a bill to that effect, pointing out that the law is vague about the selection process.

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The law currently states that the Judicial Selection Committee chooses the new Supreme Court president, but does not give further instructions. The custom is that the most senior judge is automatically chosen for the position, without deliberation by the committee. Shaked and Naor clashed last week when the Shaked said she plans to review possible candidates for Supreme Court president and not follow the usual seniority method, which would put Justice Esther Hayut in the top spot.

Kisch said the current method is flawed, in that a candidate’s suitability for the role should be considered and that experience does not necessarily mean someone is right for the position.

According to Kisch, at a time when the public’s trust in the judiciary, especially in the Supreme Court, is in decline, having an “organized and democratic” process to choose a president would elevate its status.

“The process of choosing a Supreme Court president today is faulty, because the seniority method turns the Judicial Selection Committee into a rubber stamp,” he said.

“I am concerned with the fact that this method cancels the possibility of using [the committee’s] judgment, especially because it is such an important appointment,” Kisch said. “If the Knesset can choose a state comptroller and president, it can choose a Supreme Court president.”

Shaked declined to comment on Kisch’s proposal.

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