Gavison unlikely to get Supreme Court seat

Israel Bar representative on Judges' Selection Cmte. opposes appointment.

It seems unlikely that Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison will be appointed to the Supreme Court under the current government, in the wake of elections held Tuesday for the two Israel Bar representatives to the Judge's Selection Committee. The winners in the secret balloting by the Bar's 48-member national council were Yori Guy-Ron, who opposes Gavison, and Pinhas Marinsky, who is expected to vote for her. The battle over Gavison's appointment has pitted the Supreme Court, headed by President Aharon Barak, against Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Barak has said that Gavison's "agenda" is not appropriate for the court, while Livni believes her appointment will create a more pluralistic institution. Until now, Livni lacked a majority in the Judges Selection Committee to elect Gavison, and, as a result, refused to summon it for 11 months - even though there have been two empty seats on the 15-person court for most of this year. As a result of Tuesday's Israel Bar vote, Barak continues to enjoy a majority on the committee. In addition to the three votes of the Supreme Court representatives including Barak, Dorit Beinisch and Eliezer Rivlin, the Supreme Court president also has the backing of Guy-Ron and Labor MK Avraham Shohat, who had already announced his retirement from the Knesset, but decided to stay on to block Gavison's appointment. Next year, two more Supreme Court justices, Barak and Deputy President Mishael Cheshin, are due to retire, creating new opportunities for Livni - if she returns to the Justice Ministry after the elections - to try again to appoint Gavison.