Supreme Court 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he opposes a bill proposed by
coalition chair MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) and MK Yariv Levin (Likud) on Wednesday
that would allow the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to veto
appointments of Supreme Court judges.
Speaking in the plenum, Netanyahu
said: "We will respect and defend the High Court." Soon after, the prime
minister released a statement saying he "unequivocally opposes the bill that
would give the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee the authority to
veto candidates for the judiciary."
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The bill came in response to petitions to the High Court
to veto the "Boycott Bill,"
and statements by Attorney-General
and Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon that the new anti-boycott
measure would be difficult to defend.
Levin and Elkin's bill states that
every judge and president appointed to the Supreme Court would be subjected to a
public hearing in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Any
appointment vetoed by the committee will not be able to serve in the Supreme
"This law will break the hegemony of the radical left-wing elite
in the justice system and return the sovereignty of the people and the Knesset
to democratic life in Israel," Levin said.
"Whoever vetoes laws should
have to stand before the public and be chosen in a transparent and democratic
process," Levin said. "This law will prevent the method in which Supreme Court
judges appoint their friends to the bench, and will prevent judges with
post-Zionist agendas from being appointed."
Levin added that the bill "has a
special importance because a new Supreme Court President will be chosen in the
next few months. This will end the 'seniority method' that exists today."
Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) criticized the law in the plenum on
Wednesday, saying: "Respecting the courts isn't just something that will show up
in a headline."
"When I was justice minister, I had significant disagreements
with the Supreme Court and its President," she said, "but even in the most
difficult arguments I fought to protect its status as an essential part of
"You are trying to destroy the Supreme Court, to remove its
authority and make it political, and we will stop you on the way to doing so,"
Livni also called on Netanyahu to speak out against the law,
which he did an hour later.