Supreme Court Elections Delayed, Gideon Sa’ar Announced

The next four appointments to the Supreme Court have been delayed because the nine-member Judicial Selection Committee could not agree on the candidates, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced on Tuesday.

Tuesday was supposed to be the committee meeting day to make the selections, but Sa’ar indicated that the process is so bogged down between different positions that there was no reason even to meet in person to try to bridge the gaps.

By implication and the composition of the committee, Sa’ar’s ire appeared to be directed largely at the panel’s three Supreme Court justices, though he did not explicitly mention them.

By October 2023, more than a third of the 15 Supreme Court justices will have changed, potentially altering the court’s course in a more conservative direction given that Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar generally prefers the Conservative magistrates to Liberals. .

After probing various sources, it appeared last week that some of the top potential candidates are: Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub, Jerusalem District Court Judge Gila Canfy-Steinitz (wife of the former minister and Likud MP Yuval Steinitz), Tel Aviv District Court. Judge Ruth Ronen and an additional Conservative candidate still undecided.

Gideon Sa’ar (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

With Kabub and Ronen being viewed as liberal picks, and Canfy-Steinitz as conservative, there is a growing possibility that the remaining conservative pick is a private sector defense attorney.

The powerful Judicial Selection Committee, chaired by Sa’ar, has been meeting since August and was expected to replace four judges in this round and another two in a subsequent round by October 2023.

There are already two big gaps that need to be filled following the retirement of justices Hanan Melcer and Menachem Mazuz last April.

These places could not be replaced amid the freezing of all appointments under the previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud and Benny Gantz of Blue and White.

In April 2022, Neal Hendel and George Karra retire and the hope of the committee has been to appoint their replacements now along with the other two positions as part of a large four-seat agreement between the liberal and conservative camps.

It is also possible that only the already retired magistrates will be replaced now, with one liberal and one conservative, and that Hendel and Karra will be replaced closer to retirement.

Despite the delay, there was still optimism that a deal will eventually be reached.

By October 2023, Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Anat Baron will also have retired, but their replacements are not currently up for discussion.

Interviews for the list of 24 candidates began in late October.

In addition to Sa’ar, the committee also includes: Hayut, Judge Yitzhak Amit, Judge Uzi Vogelman, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Labor member Efrat Riten, Religious Zionist Party member Simcha Rotman, and representatives of the College. of Lawyers of Israel Muhammad Naamana and Ilana Sakar.

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