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svgadminsvgNovember 13, 2011svgNews

Netanyahu Postpones Bill on High Court Appointments

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bowed to pressures from the Attorney General, mainstream media and some of his own Likud party Knesset Members Sunday and postponed a vote on a bill on High Court appointments. The measure is strongly supported by nationalists and is sponsored by the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties.

The bill would require nominees for the High Court to face questioning by the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, which could rule against a particular nominee.

In the United States Supreme Court, the same procedures are used, except that the Senate as a whole, and not a committee, ratifies or rejects appointments by the president.

Nevertheless, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein argued that the bill would violate freedom of expression, but did not explain how, and warned that it could be ruled unconstitutional by the High Court

The bill was proposed to counter the “clubhouse” effect that guarantees appointments of a majority of  High Court justices who share the same views, usually in favor of left-wing policies and against nationalists’ rights.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the bill ”dangerous” and even Likud party stalwart Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar broke ranks with the sponsors and warned the bill, if passed, would politicize the appointment of justices on the High Court. Nationalists have argued that the bill is intended to correct exactly what they say is the same situation of a subtle but certain politicization that has allowed anti-nationalists to remain in the majority.

Ze’ev Elkin, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it would make the judicial selection process more transparent and end “the radical left-wing” character of the courts.

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