Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Supreme Court)
The Judicial Selection Committee elected Justice Asher Dan Grunis president of
the Supreme Court on Friday, the Justice Ministry announced.
expected to take office later this month, following the retirement of current
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on February 28.
Seven members of
the committee voted for Grunis, with MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu)
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of
the Judicial Selection Committee, welcomed Grunis’s appointment, calling him an
“outstanding judge.” “I’m sure that as president, Grunis will continue to uphold
individual rights and prevent attacks on citizens, especially minorities,” Erdan
Beinisch and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman telephoned Grunis later
on Friday to inform him of the committee’s decision and to offer their
congratulations, the Justice Ministry said.
Grunis’s election comes after
the Knesset passed an amendment to the court’s law last month. Dubbed the
“Grunis Bill,” it effectively paved the way for Grunis to replace Beinisch by
lowering the minimum tenure for a Supreme Court president from three to two
The former retirement age for presidents as stipulated by law was 70, which ruled out Grunis, who will be just
over 67 years old on the day Beinisch retires. The new amendment reduces the
minimum term to two years, making Grunis eligible for the Supreme Court
Tabled by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) in July, the
“Grunis Law” overturned a previous change to the court’s law initiated in 2007
by then-justice minister Daniel Friedmann, which stipulated a justice could only
be elected Supreme Court president if he was eligible to serve a three-year
Following the announcement of Grunis’s election, Katz said
Israelis had been “active partners, through their representatives [in Knesset]
of the selection.”
Katz said he believed the election of Grunis would
usher in a new era in Israeli law.
“[The election will] return people’s
trust in their judges, and they see those judges are people who represent their
opinions, faith and heritage,” he added.
Likud MK and Coalition Chairman
Ze’ev Elkin also welcomed Grunis’s appointment, calling him an “excellent
justice” whose election as Supreme Court president would otherwise have been
prevented by “a useless technicality.”
“I’m glad that the Knesset
contributed to the implementation of justice,” Elkin said of the “Grunis Law,”
adding that he hoped Grunis and the other Supreme Court justices would restore
public confidence in the court.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, a
civil rights NGO, also wished Grunis well, and echoed politicians in saying that
the newly elected Supreme Court president must now improve public confidence in
Israel’s most important legal institution.
“The court must remember that
its role is to strengthen the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state
and not to become a stage for people who wish to undermine the state’s very
existence,” said Legal Forum Chairman Nachi Eyal. “Grunis has a golden
opportunity to set the court back on track and reverse the alarming decline in
Critics of the law, including the Movement for Quality
Government (MQG), say that it is “personal” legislation, as right-wing
politicians believe Grunis’s views on judicial activism make him less likely to
order the dismantling of West Bank homes, or to rule against other decisions
made by state authorities.
In January, the High Court of Justice rejected
a petition by MQG against the law, stating that the petitioners had not shown
grounds to demonstrate that it violated the Basic Laws.