Supreme Court override bill vote postponed

Despite Bennett and Shaked’s rush for a ministerial vote, they will not be able to bring it to a vote in the Knesset this week.

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May 7, 2018 12:29
2 minute read.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon responds to Ministers approval of Supreme Court override bill, May 6, 2018 (Arik Bender/Maariv)

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon responds to Ministers approval of Supreme Court override bill, May 6, 2018 (Arik Bender/Maariv)

 
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A Knesset vote on a bill to reverse Supreme Court rulings to strike down laws will not take place on Wednesday because the coalition does not have the votes to pass it, a Bayit Yehudi source confirmed Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Moscow on Wednesday, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has not budged from his instruction to his party’s lawmakers to vote against the bill. In addition, Likud MK Bennie Begin plans to vote against it. This leaves the coalition with fewer votes than the opposition.

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The proposal by MK Bezalel Smotrich of Bayit Yehudi states that the Knesset can repass laws that were overturned by the Supreme Court only by obtaining the votes of 61 MKs, often called a super-majority. Most laws can be passed with a simple majority of MKs who are present in the Knesset at the time.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, insisted that the committee vote on the bill on Sunday, even though Netanyahu sought to postpone it and to reach a compromise with Kahlon before holding any votes on the matter. However, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the bill.

Despite Bennett and Shaked’s rush for a ministerial vote, they will not be able to bring it to a vote in the Knesset this week.

Bayit Yehudi pointed out that on Sunday, the ministers “supported the override clause unanimously. The bill, together with the ‘infiltrators bill’ [to deport migrants] and opening the Holot facility solves the illegal infiltrators problem. We don’t know of another solution.

“We expect Netanyahu and Kahlon to make sure the law passes, or bring an alternative solution, as they promised,” the party added. “We will be happy to cooperate with any true solution for the infiltrators problem and the governance problem in Israel.”

The current push to reverse Supreme Court decisions came in response to a ruling earlier this year that stopped the government’s plan to deport African migrants to third countries, in part because the agreements with those countries were not being upheld. In the ensuing months, all of those agreements fell apart.

All coalition parties are for the deportation, but Kahlon opposes weakening the Supreme Court. Kahlon has some support for his position within his party. MKs Rachel Azaria, Merav Ben-Ari and others have vocally opposed the override bill, but the other Kulanu ministers, Economy Minister Eli Cohen and Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant, disagree

Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit opposes the bill, and prefers a broader one regulating the relationship between the legislative and judicial branches of government. Bennett said he would prefer such an initiative as well. However, the coalition agreement allows new Basic Laws to be vetoed, which means Kulanu could block it.

All opposition parties are against the override bill and have said they will come out in full force to vote against it.

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