Israel bill would allow Parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions

[JURIST] The Israeli justice minister has proposed a bill that would allow the Israeli Knesset to reinstate laws that have been struck down by the Israeli Supreme Court [official websites]. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman [official profile] last week proposed the bill, which would give parliament authority to overturn Supreme Court decisions [Haaretz report] that find laws unconstitutional. If a majority of 65 members vote in favor of the disputed law, then the law would be revived and valid for five years, after which parliament could vote to renew it for additional five-year periods. The proposed law has sparked debate. For example, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon opposes the bill, saying that 65 votes does not represent a sufficient majority and that the law would give parliament too much power [Times of Israel report]. However, Knesset member Reuven Rivlin [official profile] said the proposal would reduce conflict [Jerusalem Post report] between parliament and judiciary and said that he would pursue a vote on the bill during the summer session.

Israel's parliament and judiciary have experienced increasing tension. The Knesset passed a new law in January that changed the rules [JURIST report] governing the selection of Supreme Court justices. The contentious law had been criticized for undermining the independence of the judiciary in an effort to further a conservative judge favored by the government. Many fear the new laws will influence judicial decisions, impede upon the rights of the press and be used to harass liberal groups. Parliament also restricted the power of the Israel Supreme Court [JURIST report] in 2008 when it passed a bill granting the Knesset authority to revise laws overturned by the court and renewing those laws' validity. In those cases, the Knesset could overturn a Supreme Court ruling with an ordinary one-round of voting rather than the 61-vote majority in the 120-member body in three rounds of voting currently required to overturn the Supreme Court.

 

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