MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
More obstacles were set for the “Grunis Bill” on Wednesday, as Kadima MKs used
technicalities in the Knesset’s regulations to delay any voting on the proposed
The bill, which passed in its first reading last week, is
meant to reduce the minimum tenure for a Supreme Court justice from three to two
years, reversing an order from 2007 by then-justice minister Daniel
However, in a Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee
meeting, National Union leader Ya’acov Katz, who proposed the bill, requested
that it also apply to district and magistrate’s courts, causing an uproar in the
opposition, who successfully filibustered the discussion.
initiative is known as the “Grunis Bill,” because it would allow Supreme Court
Justice Asher Dan Grunis, an opponent of judicial activism, to replace Supreme
Court President Dorit Beinisch when she retires at age 70 in
Following the National Union MK’s suggestion, MK Yoel Hasson
(Kadima) demanded, at about 10:20 a.m., that discussion of the bill be moved to
the Knesset House Committee, which decides which bills are prepared in which
Hasson explained his request, saying that the “Grunis
Bill” had been expanded to include new topics, and according to Knesset
regulations, a new topic must be assigned a new committee meeting.
meeting was called for 10:45, 15 minutes before Wednesday’s plenum meeting
At 11, Hasson told substitute Knesset House Committee chairman
Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) that the meeting must be stopped, because Knesset protocol
demands special permission from the Knesset speaker to allow committees to hold
discussions during plenum meetings.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin
authorized the committee meeting’s continuation until voting was due to begin,
and no final decisions were made in time.
The committee was ready to vote
on whether the change to the bill can be discussed in the constitution, law and
justice committee or not, when MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), asked for it to be
stopped for a few minutes.
Molla explained that he is a member of the
house committee, but is also scheduled to ask a parliamentary question, and
Elkin acquiesced to his request.
By the time Molla returned, voting on
bills had begun in the plenum, which meant that, according to Rivlin’s previous
statement, the committee vote could not take place.
Had Katz successfully
added his idea to the bill, it would have been brought to its second and final
third readings in the plenum on Monday.
However, Kadima’s maneuver
delayed the bill’s preparation in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice
Committee to next week, which makes the final votes on the “Grunis Bill” likely
to occur in two weeks.
“Kadima will continue to fight all of the
Netanyahu government’s last-minute tricks, which undermine Israeli democracy,” a
party spokesman said in reference to the morning’s events.
that “Kadima is fulfilling its commitment to its voters, and making a mess for
the Likud. Even if it’s just a procedural mess that delays the vote by a week –
it’s still a mess.”
“The bill will pass anyway,” he said. “A moral bill
like this can’t be stopped.”
Elkin and the Likud declined to comment.