Ayelet Shaked March 18, 2019 (Courtesy).
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked proposed adopting the American system for choosing High Court justices and dissolving the Judicial Selection Committee as part of her five-point platform for the next Knesset unveiled on Monday.
Shaked is intent on rolling back what she refers to as the “1990s High Court of Justice revolution,” meaning the period in which the court started to use the newly-passed Knesset Basic Laws to invalidate certain Knesset laws or government policies.
Shaked’s proposal to adopt the US system for choosing High Court justices and dissolve the Judicial Selection Committee would complete a legal revolution.
Though in the past, many have suggested altering the balance of the committee or the number of votes needed to approve a justice, Shaked is the first senior official to propose dispensing with it entirely.
The justice minister’s purpose is to appoint more conservative justices without having to compromise with the current court’s justices, in exchanges where she appoints a conservative justice and they get to appoint a moderate-liberal one.
Her second and related point was that, continuing to follow the US model, public hearings would be held for High Court nominees.
Third, Shaked said she would pass the Override Bill allowing 61 MKs to override any decision of the High Court that goes against a Knesset law or state policy.
Next, she said ministers would be granted formal authority to represent themselves before the High Court, even if their legal position differed from the attorney-general.
This issue has become a growing source of tension recently, with Shaked bringing in a lawyer to defend the Settlements Regulation Law, which the attorney-general refused to defend, as well as with a disputed appointments process by Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis.
Fifth, she said she would pass the Legal Advisers Law, which would give more control to the political class over legal advisers working within the various ministries.
Under current law, while ministry
legal advisers report to their ministers on policy, regarding any questions of law they are subordinate to the attorney-general, who also has a dominant impact over a committee that decides legal adviser appointments.
Shaked’s initiative was attacked by an avalanche of politicians from Labor and Meretz as a danger to democracy.
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