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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In another step aimed at weakening the power of the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann announced Thursday that he intends to change the system of appointing presidents of all courts. He said he wants to create search committees consisting of three retired judges, including two from the lower courts, to select new presidents, including for the Supreme Court.
Until now, court presidents have been chosen by seniority.
Friedmann has already successfully spearheaded passage of a law that limits Supreme Court presidents and deputy presidents to one term of seven years. The Supreme Court president and deputy president traditionally had remained in their positions until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Friedmann also proposes establishing search committees to recommend candidates for deputy court presidents and the head of the Courts Administration.
In a statement to the press, Friedmann's communications adviser, Tzahi Moshe, said the justice minister had written to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, the presidents of the lower courts and the head of the Courts Administration, asking for their opinions on his proposal.
According to Friedmann, a search committee will be established to recommend the best candidate for the president of each court. The committee will include a retired judge appointed by the justice minister, who will serve as its chairman. Two other retired judges will be chosen respectively by the district courts presidents and the magistrate's courts presidents.
According to Friedmann's proposal, the Supreme Court president will not appoint a candidate to the committee, but representatives of the district courts and the magistrate's courts will be able to participate in choosing the Supreme Court president.
Beinisch had no comment to make on the proposal, Courts Administration spokeswoman Ayelet Filo told The Jerusalem Post.
According to the proposal, the deputy presidents of the courts will be recommended by a search committee consisting of a retired judge appointed by the justice minister, the head of the Courts Administration and the president of the court for which the deputy is to be chosen.
The head of the Courts Administration will be chosen by a search committee headed by a retired judge appointed by the justice minister, three retired judges chosen respectively by the Supreme Court president, the district courts presidents and the magistrate's courts presidents, and the Civil Service commissioner.