Coalition backs bill to help Grunis lead High Court

Ministerial C'tee on Legislations approves bill to reduce term a Supreme Court president can serve.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish 311  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill on Sunday that would reduce the minimum term a Supreme Court president can serve, opening the door for Justice Asher Dan Grunis to take the role when Dorit Beinisch retires.
The committee dismissed an appeal brought by ministers Bennie Begin and Dan Meridor against the bill sponsored by National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz.
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Katz’s bill states that the Supreme Court president may serve for a minimum of two years, rather than the three years currently stipulated by law.
Katz raised the measure when it became clear that when the current president Beinisch retires at age 70 next February, Grunis would be 67 years and 41 days old, and hence would not be eligible to replace her as president.
As the Supreme Court follows a tradition of seniority, it would have been likely that Justice Miriam Naor would have taken Beinisch’s place – and not Grunis – following her retirement.
Explaining his reasons for submitting the bill, Katz said that it was his duty as an elected official to ensure that a judge as highly regarded as Grunis should not be excluded from the position of Supreme Court president on the grounds of age.
“It would have been difficult for me to stand by and watch a competent judge be forced to serve three years minus 41 days beside a much younger president, just as [that judge] is at the height of his abilities and an asset to Israel’s legal community,” said Katz.
“Two years are an adequate minimal time period for a Supreme Court president to make his mark on the legal world. I’m glad we managed to convince the government of that fact.”
The bill is likely to pass a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.