Court's authorities curtailed
Court's authorities curtailedphoto: file

The government, at its weekly Cabinet session on Sunday morning, narrowly approved Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann's controversial proposal to curtail the Supreme Court's ability to revoke Knesset laws.

The vote was 13-12.  Supporting the proposal were several Kadima Party ministers, including Prime Minister Olmert, as well as the four Shas ministers and the two Pensioners Party members. Some Kadima ministers, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Roni Bar-On, voted against, as did the Cabinet members of the Labor Party.

According to the approved proposal, the Supreme Court will be allowed to void only Knesset laws that negate a Basic Law. In addition, the revocation of the law must be passed by a two-thirds majority of the nine Court justices considering the matter.

If a law is thus voided, the Knesset would then be able to re-pass the law with an absolute majority of the legislature, 61 MKs.  In such a scenario, the Supreme Court would then be able to re-consider revoking the law only five years later.

Friedmann: Important Turning Point

Friedmann has long been seeking to curtail the Supreme Court's judicial activism.  He said that the government's approval of his latest proposal is a "turning point and an important stage in the restoration of the government's ability to govern, while also strengthening the Knesset."

The proposed bill also actually strengthens the Supreme Court, he said, "in that for the first time it will actually be authorized by a Basic Law of the Knesset to overturn Knesset laws."