Herzog alternative judicial reform plan denies the coalition absolute control over appointing justices

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

President of the Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut at a court hearing, December 1, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
President of the Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut at a court hearing, December 1, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

President Isaac Herzog sets out his “People’s Framework” proposal, which he says should replace the government’s legislative proposals for the radical judicial and legal overhaul it seeks to enact.

His plan addresses critical aspects of the relationship between Israel’s branches of government, including the selection of judges and judicial review over Knesset legislation, and enshrines fundamental civil rights in Israel’s Basic Laws.

On the selection of judges, no branch of government would be able to appoint judges without the input of another branch.

The Judicial Selection Committee would comprise 11 members, in which the government and coalition would have four representatives (three ministers and one MK); the judiciary would have three members (the Supreme Court president and two other judges); the opposition would have two members; and the justice minister would appoint two legal scholars with the agreement of the Supreme Court president.

Appointments to the Supreme Court would require a majority of seven out of the 11 committee members, including the votes of four women and one Arab member. This means the coalition would not have absolute control of appointing justices, as it would have in the legislation it is preparing to enact.

Appointments to lower courts would also require a majority of seven out of 11 committee members, but without the stipulations regarding women and Arab members. The Supreme Court president would be selected by the seniority system, as is the case today.

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