MKs to Vote on Grunis Bill Monday

Second bill on makeup of Supreme Court to be debated in committee; legal professors, other intellectuals call on Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and party leaders to block both bills.

The so-called Grunis Bill, which is expected to pave the way for Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis to be named the next court president, will be coming before the Knesset Monday for its final two readings.

The bill, initiated by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union ), allows judges to assume the court presidency even if they have less than three years to serve before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. The current law restricts such judges from becoming chief justice.

Grunis, Beinisch
Tomer Appelbaum

Grunis' 70th birthday is in January of 2015, meaning that under the current law he just misses his chance to lead the court after Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch retires in February.

Opposition MKs have said they would filibuster the bill by conducting lengthy debates on the hundreds of objections filed against it. But most observers believe the speeches will last only a few hours.

Another bill that could affect the composition of the Supreme Court will be debated today by the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

The bill, which the committee will be preparing for its second and third readings, would change the makeup of the Judicial Appointments Committee in such a way that would increase Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's influence over it.

Several legal professors and other intellectuals are calling on Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and party leaders to block both bills.

"We cannot enable judges who serve on someone's behalf, and certainly not court presidents who serve the most extremist politicians," they said in a letter, referring to Katz.

The current version of the judicial appointments bill has also been criticized by the constitution committee's legal adviser, Sigal Kogut.

The bill, initiated by coalition chairman MKs Zeev Elkin and Yariv Levin, both of Likud, and MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu ), aims to change the representation of the Israel Bar Association on the Judicial Appointments Committee. It would force the bar to choose one of its two representatives from the ruling coalition and one from the opposition.

Kogut issued strong objections to the bill, saying its demand that the two bar representatives on the committee each get at least two-thirds of the vote means the bar would never succeed in electing any representatives.

She also expressed reservations regarding the retroactive aspect of the bill, which would nullify the results of the bar associations's recent election of two representatives to the selection committee.

Read this article in Hebrew.