• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Judicial Overhaul Bill Expected for Vote Coming Monday

Feb 15, 2023

The first reading for the initial part of the controversial judicial overhaul proposals in the Knesset plenum is expected to be this Wednesday, or more likely next Monday.

The bill in question would give the government the authority of selecting the judges.

The legislation

The bill has been sponsored by the committee and would require amendments to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, which would give immunity to quasi-constitutional Basic laws from judicial oversight.

It would also mean that the government would have a majority on the Judicial Selection Committee automatically.

The piece of legislation received approval on Monday in a tempestuous hearing of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and would now be sent to the Knesset.

The office of Justice Minister Yariv Levin said that they did not have any intention of delaying the bill’s first reading, even though Isaac Herzog, the Israeli President, had asked to halt the proceedings.

The President had asked that legislative proceedings be paused for deliberating the compromise proposals that he had put forward on Sunday night.

After a bill sponsored by a committee receives approval, it can only be brought for a vote in the Knesset plenum after a period of 48 hours.

This is applicable unless the Knesset House Committee requests an exception, which had not been done in the case of the bill for the judicial selection committee.

The process

As per the legislation, judicial review over the Basic Laws can no longer by exercised by the High Court of Justice.

Once it receives approval in the first reading, the will be sent back to the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to be prepared for its second and third readings.

When those readings are complete, the bill will formally be passed into law.

The head of the law committee, MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism party, and the Justice Minister hinted after the president’s speech that they were willing to open a dialogue.

They also said that there could even be some form of compromise, but they did not intend to delay the legislation for that to happen.

The reaction

MK Yulia Malinovsky of the Yisrael Beytenu party said that approving a bill in its first reading was a direct threat to the opposition.

She said that in such circumstances, it was impossible to have any compromise negotiations, as it is not very different from putting a loaded gun on the table.

She stated that negotiations in such circumstances is not possible. The MK also said that after the committee voting on Monday, Rothman has continued to conduct hearings on the legislation.

These are related to other aspects of the judicial overhaul of the government, particularly the override clause that will allow the Knesset to pass any law without worrying about judicial review from the High Court.

According to Malinovsky, until the coalition decides to stop the legislative process, it is not possible to have any negotiations, or be able to reach a compromise.

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