Supreme Court President Miriam Naor sent a letter to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Monday demanding that Justice Esther Hayut be named as her replacement.
Although Hayut is the only candidate for the position, Shaked is conditioning her appointment on the Judicial Appointments Committee agreeing upon the identity of two Supreme Court justices to replace justices Yoram Danziger and Uri Shoham, who will retire in 2018.
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For that reason, Shaked did not include the Hayut appointment on the next agenda for the committee, which is scheduled to convene on July 18.
Naor wrote to Shaked: “I see no justification for postponing the meeting of the committee that is intended to choose the president and deputy president. As we know, these officeholders are supposed to assume their positions in a few months, and therefore it is important to choose them now.
“Postponing the date of the committee meeting arouses a suspicion of interfering with the preparations and causing unnecessary harm to the judicial system and the public,” she added.
Naor wrote that there is room to approve the appointments so the appointees will be able to ensure proper substitutions, security arrangements and manning the auxiliary senior staff. “It seems the only reason for postponing the meeting is that we have not succeeded until now in reaching agreements on the issue of the identity of the two Supreme Court justices to be chosen instead of justices Danziger and Shoham. As is our custom, we will make an effort to reach agreements and understandings. But there is no room to combine the issue of the appointment of the justices and the issue of the appointment of the president and their deputy,” wrote Naor.
Shaked responded that she “wants to choose the next Supreme Court president over 100 days before retirement, and therefore without any necessity at this time, before there has been a meaningful discussion on the subject.”
Shaked also said that in the discussion that will take place in the committee when Hayut’s appointment was supposed to be approved, there will be “a basic discussion on the question of the manner of choosing a president for the Supreme Court and the seniority system.”
“Shaked wants conservative justices, that’s what interests her,” a source on the Judicial Appointments Committee told Haaretz. “And if she doesn’t get that, she won’t rush to announce the Hayut appointment.”
He believed there is little chance of reaching agreement this week regarding the identity of the two Supreme Court replacements. Apparently the Israel Bar Association will request that another private-sector lawyer be appointed to replace Danziger, who comes from the private sector.