The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday rejected an appeal filed by ministers Dan Meridor and Benny Begin over the decision that the Israeli Government will support the proposed Grunis Bill.
The bill, which was proposed by National Union Chairman MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) and was approved last month by the committee, could determine who replaces Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch upon her retirement in February.
If passed by the Knesset, the bill could mean that Beinisch will be replaced by Judge Asher Grunis and not by Judge Miriam Naor, as is now expected.
The bill amends the current law which says that a Supreme Court President can only be appointed if he or she can serve in the position for at least three years. This stipulation was inserted in 2007 by then Justice Minister Daniel Friedman and was meant to prevent appointments “for the sake of awarding a title or securing a pension,” in Friedman’s words.
The new bill, which will be brought on Wednesday for a preliminary vote in the plenum, amends the law and would allow the appointment of a president with only two years remaining until retirement.
The change in the law would allow the appointment of Judge Grunis even though he would only be two years and ten months away from the age of retirement at the time of his appointment.
During Sunday’s discussion by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman expressed his opinion that the section in the law which sets the time limit a Supreme Court President can serve should be completely eliminated.
The committee’s decision is significant in that it means the coalition would support the bill when it is raised to a vote. The bill would need to be approved in three readings until next February.
“We are delighted that we were able to convince the Government that it is unthinkable that a talented Supreme Court judge such as Grunis could not be appointed president only because of 41 days,” Katz said on Sunday, following the committee’s rejection of the appeal.