This position paper was written in response to Knesset Constitution Committee Chairman Simcha Rotman’s proposal, whereby the first two appointments of Supreme Court judges during every Knesset’s term would be approved by the six members of the coalition on the Judicial Selection Committee. Other appointments would require the same majority, but the six committee members would have to include an opposition MK and a judge.
Zulat believes the proposal should be rejected due to the following reasons:
- The proposal actually means that the two judges would be selected according to their political or party affiliation. These judges might not be able to conduct an independent judicial review of government decisions and Knesset legislation. Even if they proved their independence during their tenure, they would a priori enjoy limited public trust on account of being political appointments, which would hurt the entire judicial system and tarnish its reputation.
- The two selected judges might be extreme conservatives who could actually implement the principles of the regime revolution, even if their legislation is still incomplete. As the Supreme Court’s rulings and interpretation of the law is binding on all other courts, the appointment of two judges by the government could actually bring about the implementation of the regime revolution, block any judicial review of laws or intervention in corrupt appointments, and emasculate the reasonableness standard and the protection of human and civil rights.
- The impact of politicians controlling the Supreme Court is much more dramatic in Israel than in the United States. Even after the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, the US federal system of government enables individual states to protect it. This is not possible in Israel, given that the Supreme Court here has the final say.• The proposal gives the illusion of never-ending turnover in the Supreme Court, whereas the reality is that judges are appointed to permanent positions until their retirement at age 70 and that the current government could in effect decide the character of the Supreme Court for decades to come.
- The government wants to determine the identity of the judges who will discuss the regime revolution.