The latest humiliation of the Knesset at the hands of the High Court — nullification of the government’s detention policy for illegal migrants — has kindled a move for legislation to override the judiciary.
A bill sponsored by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked would provide for annulled laws to be brought back to the Knesset, which can vote to re-pass them for a period of four years if it can get a simple majority of 61 lawmakers, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The bill adds what is known as an “overriding clause” to Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
In response, Meretz plans to submit a bill to increase the number of MKs necessary to override the court to 90 out of the total 120. Such a proviso would make an override extremely difficult to obtain, precisely the intention of Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On. She said it will ensure that an override would only happen when necessary and not because of someone’s political agenda.
The idea is not new. A similar “overriding clause” was added to Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation by former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s government in 1994 to prevent the importation of non-kosher meat.
Shaked confirmed that the High Court’s cancellation of the government’s migrant policy last month for the second time in a year was the motivating factor in proposing the change.
The Knesset will have to pass a new law for dealing with the problem by the end of December.
“Even [Supreme Court] President [Asher] Grunis said the court went too far and turned itself into a legislator. No one says the court has to have the last word. The current situation harms checks and balances,” she told Army Radio.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On conceded that the bill has a good chance of passing because of “the tyranny of the majority,” and predicted it will cause endless problems.