Likud MKs promote bills to reform judicial selection system

Ze’ev Elkin: Legislation will bring to light ‘dark deals’ surrounding the appointment of judges.

Zeev Elkin 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Zeev Elkin 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation plans to discuss on Sunday a law that would make judicial selection hearings public, part of a series of judicial-reform bills proposed by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and MK Yariv Levin (Likud).
According to the bill, any judge appointed by the Supreme Court president would face a public hearing in the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, which would have the right to disqualify the judge from serving in the High Court.
Currently, only the three judges in the Judicial Selection Committee have a right to veto potential justices.
Elkin and Levine explained on Wednesday night that the bill, along with a bill that was already approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation to regulate the selection of Judicial Selection Committee members, are essential because new Supreme Court justices will be chosen in the coming months.
The bill on Judicial Selection Committee members was supposed to be put to a vote on Wednesday, but was postponed after Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin decided to set this week’s Knesset agenda by consensus during the Muslim and Druse Id al-Adha holiday.
“[The public hearings bill] allows the public to be more involved in the process of choosing High Court judges, in order to increase the public’s confidence in the court system,” Elkin said. “There is no justice to the claims that the bill will involve politicians in the courts, because even today politicians are involved in the process, via the Judicial Selection Committee.”
The coalition chairman explained that the bill will “bring the dark deals [in the judicial selection process] to the light and reveal them to the world, so there will be open public discourse as is accepted in other democracies in the Western world.”
“Transparency can only strengthen democracy and the public’s confidence in Israel’s judicial system,” he added.
According to Levin, “this is the end of the radical leftwing hegemony over the courts, and the beginning of the entire system’s rehabilitation.”
“A historical process is now underway, which will bring a major change to judicial selection and make clear that the will of the public is stronger than the elite that ran the courts until today by appointing its friends,” Levin said.
“The law will bring variety in the make-up of the High Court and its gates will open to Sephardic judges, Russian judges, and nationalist judges,” he added. “It will also prevent the appointment of judges with a post-Zionist agenda.”
Kadima slammed the bill, claiming that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud “are trying to terrorize the justice system in any way possible.”
The party spokesman also called the bill “an attempt to undermine the justice system and pollute it with clear political considerations.”
“This bill is an additional expression of forceful and brutal handling from a party that once fought for freedom of the individual and today stomps on anyone that doesn’t agree with its stances,” a party spokesman said.
“[Former prime minister Menachem] Begin said to put faith in the judges in Jerusalem, and Netanyahu says today: ‘Wheeler-dealers will replace judges,’” he added. “The Likud doesn’t understand that the public will not tolerate such behavior.
“Kadima will continue to fight the Likud’s attempt to threaten the entire democratic system in Israel,” he said.