Levin pushes to tap Justice Yosef Elron as Supreme Court president, breaking protocol

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

Supreme Court Justice Yosef Elron at a book launch event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, on January 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Justice Yosef Elron at a book launch event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, on January 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Justice Minister Yariv Levin proposes to appoint Supreme Court Justice Yosef Elron as president of the court, despite him not being the next most senior justice on the court, during a meeting of the Judicial Selection Committee.

The position of president has been vacant since Esther Hayut retired last October, and Justice Uzi Vogelman has served as acting president ever since, a situation unprecedented in the history of the court.

The position of president has always been gone to the justice with the most years on the court, but Levin opposes this system and seeks to have a conservative appointed to push the court in a more conservative direction.

According to sources close to the committee, Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar, the opposition’s representative on the panel, raised the issue during the hearing today, pointing out that Vogelman himself is due to retire in October.

Settlements and National Missions Minister Orit Strock reportedly chastised Elharrar, accusing the Supreme Court of exceeding the boundaries of its authority, followed by Levin berating the court for its intervention in Knesset legislation.

Levin said he wouldn’t bring the selection of a president to a vote without the unanimous agreement of all nine members of the committee. He proposed that Elron, a staunch conservative, serve as president for a year until he too reaches the age of retirement, but did not say what would happen after that.

Since at least five of the six committee members on the panel who do not represent the government or coalition oppose abolishing the seniority system, and appointing a president requires a majority on the panel, the discussion did not advance further.

The justice next in line to the presidency after Vogelman, if the principle of seniority were to be used, is Isaac Amit, a strong liberal.

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