High Court justice Noam Sohlberg appointed to spot on Judicial Selection Committee

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

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg is appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee, a panel responsible for appointing new judges, in place of Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman whose three-year tenure on the committee expired last week.

Sohlberg is a conservative whose positions have been cited approvingly by the current coalition, although he has also issued rulings against the government in controversial cases, most recently joining a unanimous decision ruling against the coalition’s so-called Tiberias law last week.

The appointment of two representatives from the Supreme Court to the Judicial Selection Committee is done by seniority, and the Supreme Court president joins the two other representatives of the court on the panel.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut informed Justice Minister Yariv Levin of the decision to appoint Sohlberg earlier this afternoon.

Levin, who chairs the committee, has so far refused to convene the panel, seemingly because he will be unable to have full control of judicial appointments due to the composition of the current panel.

The coalition can count on the votes of Levin, a second government minister yet to be named, as well as coalition MK Yitzhak Kroizer of the ultranationalist Otzma Yehudit party.

Opposition MK Karin Elharrar of Yesh Atid, the two representatives of the Israel Bar Association (IBA), and Supreme Court President Esther Hayut together with Supreme Court Justice Isaac Amit are all likely to support liberal candidates for the judiciary.

Five votes are needed to appoint lower court judges and seven votes to appoint judges to the Supreme Court, meaning committee members from the opposition, Supreme Court and IBA could likely outvote the coalition on lower court appointments, if the committee was convened.

Petitions filed against Levin to the High Court demanding he convene the committee are set to be heard on September 7.

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