Coalition Deal to Stop Supreme Court Interference

Agreement draft between Likud and UTJ includes clause preventing court from cancelling laws passed by majority of MKs.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar,

Supreme Court (file)
Supreme Court (file)
Flash 90

The coalition agreement draft formed Tuesday and expected to be signed on Wednesday between Likud and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) includes a clause that would limit the Supreme Court's ability to cancel Knesset laws and interfere in the Knesset's authority.

According to the section dealing with legislation, the coalition will be obligated to pass a Basic Law amendment according to the which the High Court will only be able to cancel a law with a majority of eight out of 15 judges, thereby limiting Supreme Court activism.

Perhaps more importantly, the Basic Law amendment would make it so that if a law is struck down by the Supreme Court and then re-approved by a majority of 61 MKs, the Supreme Court will not be able to strike it down again until two years after the end of the term of the reigning government.

The amendment further stipulates that if a law is that has thus been struck down by the court and re-approved by the Knesset is ratified again by the succeeding Knesset, the Supreme Court will never be able to cancel it. In the wording of the amendment, a law is re-ratified by the new Knesset "will be valid with no limitations of time."

The amendment's sponsors see it as defending the Knesset's authority as the elected representative of the public to express their will via legislation.

The clause is particularly meant to limit the Supreme Court's ability to interfere in the controversial Enlistment Law by which haredim are compelled to enlist in the IDF or face criminal sanctions. The law is anticipated to undergo serious changes in the upcoming coalition, which will include haredi parties such as UTJ and likely Shas.

However, the clause is the initiative not of UTJ but rather of Likud, which apparently hopes to limit the Supreme Court's ability to interfere in legislation aiming to deal with the issue of illegal immigrants - as it has repeatedly in the past - as well as right-wing laws in general.

Up till now Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party has opposed this clause over Supreme Court activism in coalition talks with Likud, but the clause will remain in the final coalition agreement between Likud and UTJ in any case.




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