• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Bills for Halting Judicial Review and re-appointing Deri to be Advanced on Sunday

Feb 11, 2023

On Sunday, two controversial pieces of legislation will be put forward in front of a key Knesset committee.

The government wants to move ahead with its efforts of eliminating unwanted oversight by the country’s courts over the political echelon.

The legislation

The first bill that will be put forward is a legislative tool aimed at allowing the Knesset to pass laws without a judicial review.

This is a vital element of the planned overhaul of the justice system of Israel. There is another law that will be presented, which is aimed at allowing Aryeh Deri, the Shas leader, to be appointed as minister again.

Deri had had to step down from his ministerial position after a ruling of the High Court that deemed him unfit to hold it.

The legislation will be brought for a vote on Sunday in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. If these bills get approval, they will then be scheduled for their preliminary hearings in the Knesset.

Head of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset, MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism party has put forward the draft legislation for restricting the judicial review powers.

This would enable the Knesset to pass laws and the High Court of Justice will not have the authority of striking them down.

The purpose

The draft bill is to be passed as Basic Law: Override and it would give the Knesset the authority to approve any law and it would remain valid even if it contradicts a Basic Law.

A simple majority of MK votes would be needed for passing the bill and its validity would apply for the current Knesset and for two years of the next Knesset.

If the law is approved again by the next Knesset, then it would be considered permanent statue, unless another law repeals it.

On the other hand, it also gives the High Court the authority to invalidate Knesset legislation if it is contravening a Basic Law, but all 15 High Court judges would have to rule unanimously for it.

The criticism

A number of senior legal professionals, jurists and academic scholars have asserted that the limitations in the law would eliminate the ability of the court to strike down laws.

In fact, they said that the judicial review powers of the High Court would be entirely abolished via this law.

Rothman has argued that a simple majority had passed most of the Basic laws and since there is no formal constitution in Israel, the Knesset should be able to use a simple majority to prevent a judicial review.

The MK said that the legislation would ensure that Knesset’s legislation would only be invalidated by the High Court if all judges find something contradictory in it.

If it gets approval, the draft bill will be brought in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday. As for the bill to allow Deri to return to a ministerial position, it involves amending an existing Basic Law.

He had been removed from his position as health minister after a controversial ruling of the High Court last month.

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