New Law Would Change Method of Choosing High Court Judges

YERUSHALAYIM -
High Court Building. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90
The High Court building. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

In the wake of recent High Court decisions on the country’s gas contracts, and a general perception that the court leans left, Likud MK Nurit Koren plans to introduce a bill to the Knesset that would change the method by which court judges are chosen – and giving an opportunity for the election of judges with different points of view, something that is currently nearly impossible.

The bill would change the procedure by which a judge is chosen for the bench. High Court judges are chosen by a special committee which has the final decision as to who gets the job. The committee has nine members – three from the government, three from the opposition, and three current court members. Under current rules, a new judge is chosen when seven of the nine committee members approve one – and two of those approving must be among the judges themselves.

Koren’s bill would allow for a judge to be selected by a simple majority vote of committee members – without requiring the approval of current judges, a much healthier and more democratic way of handling matters, Koren wrote in an attachment to the bill. “The current method of choosing judges violates the procedures of proper and democratic government,” she wrote. “The current system gives outsized support to minority opinions, which is imposed on the will of the majority. This is undemocratic.

“Most other democratic countries choose candidates for judgeship in consultation with current bench members,” she added. “We have no plans to change that, but we do wish to change the voting methods for appointing judges by changing to a normal majority as opposed to a special one.”