Judicial reform-affiliated bills are set to be sent to the Knesset plenum in two votes in two separate committees on Sunday.
A bill restricting the High Court's ability to use judicial review with provisions for override clauses will have a revision vote in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Sunday morning.
In a move that surprised and angered coalition committee members, committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman had decided to hold the revision vote on Sunday after the bill had passed its reading and to be sent to the Knesset on Wednesday.
The Religious Zionist Party MK had determined that opposition members hadn't received enough time to voice their opinions in the session, which was marked by shouting and the removal of many MKs.
The bill holds that judicial review can only be used on regular legislation when 80% of an extended bench of justices is in consensus that provisions are in contradiction with Israel's quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.
The legal article also has provisions on override clauses to cancel the High Court's decision to strike down laws with judicial review.
Overturning a court's judicial review of a law
With a simple majority, the Knesset can choose to overturn a court's judicial review of a law and the legislation will be irreproachable by the court until a year after the Knesset that implemented the override has dissolved. A provision for a preemptive override will also allow the Knesset to preemptively immunize a piece of legislation from judicial review for up to a year from the Knesset's dissolution.
A vote will also be held at the Special Committee for Amendments to Basic Law: Government on the "fortification law" that changes the rules for when a prime minister is determined to be unfit for service.
According to the bill, which wouldn't change institutions such as no-confidence votes, a prime minister would be determined unfit only for medical reasons by a two-thirds majority in the Knesset committee based on an official medical opinion followed by a majority vote in the Knesset.
A prime minister could temporarily be deemed medically unfit to serve either through the President who would notify the Knesset committee and they would agree by a two-thirds majority or a similar vote based on a medical practitioner's opinion.
The move, which anti-reformists and opposition members see as part of the judicial reform, follows reports in Israeli media that the Attorney-General's Office was considering announcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit for service due to Netanyahu's conflict of interest between the reforms and his ongoing corruption trials. The A-G's office has denied these reports, which legal experts have said have tenuous legal grounding.
Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara has ordered Netanyahu not to involve himself with the reforms after she announced that a conflict of interest agreement organized by previous attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit was still in effect.
The agreement prevents Netanyahu from engaging in appointment of law enforcement and judicial officials, the latter of which is a central element of the reforms by way of changing the composition of the judicial selection committee to give elected officials a majority.
A special Knesset plenum is also set to be held on Sunday, a day that usually doesn’t have Knesset sessions. Some Israeli media reports contend that the session could be used to set deadlines for appointments for the judicial selection committee.
A previous judicial reform bill changing the committee and restricting judicial review of Basic Laws was approved in a preliminary Knesset reading and returned to the law committee in preparation for further readings.
Another item of legislation that is considered by the opposition as tied to the reform is the so-called "Deri Law 2" which would prevent the High Court from interfering with ministerial appointments. This bill had been sent to the committee from the Knesset following preliminary readings and was developed following a High Court ruling ordering Netanyahu to remove Shas Chairman Arye Deri from his role as interior and health minister.
The court had determined that it was unreasonable for Deri to hold the posts due to his long criminal history and convictions. Petitions were heard after Deri was able to ascend to the positions after a Basic Law amendment allowed him to do so despite his suspended prison sentences. Basic Law: Government previously didn't allow those having served prison sentences to be ministers. The High Court declined to engage in judicial review of the amendment, which opposition and critics felt was a personal law that changed the rules of the political game as it was being played.