Justice minister: Knesset must have power to veto high court

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said her Jewish Home Party will require the next government to approve veto power over the Supreme Court.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked said that her political party, Jewish Home, will require the next government to give the Knesset a veto over Israel’s Supreme Court as part of any coalition agreement, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at the Ma’ariv Conference in Jerusalem on Monday, she blamed left-wing members of the current coalition for blocking her bill to empower 62 members of the Knesset to override the High Court when it tries to strike a Knesset law as unconstitutional.

Shaked and her colleagues have been working on the so-called “Override Clause,” which would give the Knesset the power to reverse Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority of 62 votes. The legislation on the bill passed its first hurdle on June 3, when it made it out of committee and was sent to the Knesset plenum for approval. The Knesset vote has yet to be scheduled.

“At the heart of the matter is the question of checks and balances,” according to a JNS report. “Coalition leaders describe the high court as a runaway, self-selecting oligarchy overturning laws at an ever more alarming rate, using legally dubious justifications as it interferes in areas beyond its purview. They complain specifically that the court: 1) has granted itself the authority to cancel laws; 2) doesn’t require a petitioner to have “legal standing”; 3) is the court of first and last appeal; 4) chooses its own members; and 5) considers just about everything justiciable.”

“The Supreme Court has basically turned itself into the sovereign, the highest authority on everything. That’s not what they’re supposed to do. They’re not supposed to govern. We’ve been elected. They have not,”  Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett declared in an interview with The Times of Israel in late May.

Of the judicial system in Israel, Shaked said that she has worked to change its homogeneous nature.

“I have appointed 300 judges since I took office, and today the judges represent all segments of the population, with a very diverse range of opinions,” she told the conference. “Once it was homogenous, and now it is heterogeneous. The Supreme Court is not a branch of anyone [political party], and I acted to appoint conservatives to the court,” she said.