Following reports that the government plans to moderate its judicial reform package as it pertains to the Judicial Appointments Committee, MK Simcha Rothman, chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, has announced that, "There'll be news today."
The Constitution Committee is meeting on Monday morning to continue its debates on the reform package, and the government has made it clear that it intends to advance the section related to the Judicial Appointments Committee within the next few days, before the Knesset breaks up for the Passover recess.
"The [new] proposal we're presenting comes after the total refusal of the opposition to engage with us," Rothman noted. "We're extending our hands to them, once again. There are another 50 days until the legislation moves forward [after the recess] and that's plenty of time to discuss and debate. We will be able to return after the recess united for Remembrance Day," he added, appealing to the opposition to "stop. You're burning down the country for nothing, boycotting an elected government for nothing."
According to the new compromise proposal, the government will have an automatic majority on the Judicial Selections Committee with six out of the 11 members being from the coalition. Supreme Court Justices will be appointed with a majority of six, but the government will only be able to utilize this majority for the first two appointments it makes during its term in office. The third appointment will require a majority of seven, with the seventh vote coming from a Knesset member from the opposition, and all subsequent appointments will require the approval of at least one opposition MK as well as at least one judge on the committee. For lower courts, a majority of seven of the 11 committee members will be required to make appointments.
Furthermore, the government intends to pass a law changing the way the Supreme Court President is chosen. At present, this is an automatic appointment, the justice with seniority ascending to the position; the government intends to change the law to enable the government to decide which judge should take the position. As such, the Supreme Court's representation on the Judicial Selections Committee will be a government appointee, and the coalition can be virtually guaranteed of obtaining a majority of seven on all votes.
Nonetheless, several Likud MKs have expressed their extreme displeasure with the compromise, even going so far as to call it a "surrender," while clarifying that they will not breach coalition discipline to vote against the measures.