Grunis and Rivlin set to meet over bill that would allow MKs to resurrect laws struck down by court (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Tomer Zarchin 04/22/12)
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Supreme Court President Asher Dan Grunis and Knesset Speaker Reuven
Rivlin are expected to disagree Sunday on a proposed bill that would
give the Knesset the power to override the court after the court
strikes down laws as unconstitutional.
Rivlin and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, whose ministry drafted the
legislation, hope to pass the bill during the Knesset´s upcoming
session, but Grunis and the other justices have major reservations.
The bill consists of a draft of a Basic Law on Legislation that would
regulate the relationship between the court and the Knesset. Israel
has no constitution, but the Knesset has passed a number of basic
laws over the years that have constitutional status.
Sunday´s meeting will be the first working meeting between Grunis and
Rivlin. A court source said Grunis is expected to criticize what he
views as the relatively small number of Knesset members the bill
stipulates for reinstating laws found unconstitutional. The bill
would require 65 of the 120 MKs.
Grunis is also expected to take issue with a provision that would
allow reinstituted laws to remain in force indefinitely. The initial
override would take effect for five years, but the action could be
renewed any number of times by the Knesset.
Over the years, proposals have been made to create a Basic Law on
Legislation, including one by a public committee headed by Neeman
when he was a lawyer in private practice. That proposal, issued in
2004, would require 70 MKs to override a Supreme Court ruling that
legislation is unconstitutional. That proposal would limit the
duration of laws reinstated by an override to five years.
Neeman has not explained the differences between the basic law
currently being proposed and the one he supported in 2004.
Last week, Grunis bitterly criticized the Justice Ministry´s current
draft, which was written without consultation with the Supreme Court
and released just before Passover.
"It seems unnecessary to mention that such an important document to
our constitutional form of government should be submitted after
consideration by the Supreme Court and in consultation with it,"
Grunis said at a swearing-in ceremony for judges.
Grunis said the new bill creates a number of problems that deserve
thorough discussion and could have negative consequences in the long
run. He noted differences between the current proposal and previous
ones, including the one proposed in 2004 by Neeman´s panel, which
Grunis said struck a better balance between parliament and the
According to a court source, the Supreme Court justices are united in
their criticism of the current draft. He was referring to the modest
requirement of 65 MKs to override laws and the unlimited number of
times the Knesset could renew the five-year periods of reinstatement.
"It´s clear the proposal is a bad one, and it´s very different from
the one Neeman proposed in the past," the source said. "A 65-MK
majority is relatively small. And, relatively easily, it would permit
the overriding of laws struck down by the high court, something [the
court] does sparingly in any event."
The source said he thought the bill in its current form damages
Supreme Court´s standing. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/22/12)
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