PM opposes bill on veto of Supreme Court appointees

Likud MKs Elkin and Levin propose law requiring public hearing to "prevent post-Zionist judges from being appointed."

Supreme Court 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
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 Yehuda Weinstein 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 Court.
"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 Israeli democracy."
"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 said.
Livni also called on Netanyahu to speak out against the law, which he did an hour later.