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List of candidates to fill 4 High Court spots unveiled

CM 30/09/2021

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The list of 24 candidates for filling the Supreme Court’s two already-open spots and two soon-to-be-open spots was published on Thursday.
The powerful Judicial Selection Committee, chaired by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, has been meeting since August and will replace four justices in this round and another two in a later round by October 2023.
By October 2023, more than one-third of the 15 justices on the Supreme Court will have been changed over, potentially altering the course of the court toward a more conservative direction given that Sa’ar generally prefers conservative justices over liberal ones.

There are already two gaping holes that need to be filled following the retirement of Justices Hanan Melcer and Menachem Mazuz this past April, but who could not be replaced amidst the freezing of all appointments under the prior government of the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White’s Benny Gantz.
In April 2022, Neal Hendel and George Karra retire and by October 2023, Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Anat Baron will also have retired.
Besides Sa’ar, the committee also includes: Hayut, Justice Yitzhak Amit, Justice Uzi Vogelman, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Labor MK Efrat Riten, Religious Zionist Party MK Simcha Rotman and Israel Bar Association representatives Muhammad Naamana and Ilana Sakar.
Of all of the candidates, District Judge Khaled Kabub, has the clearest path to an appointment since traditionally there is one Israeli-Arab on the court, and Kabub is viewed as the top candidate to replace Karra.
Other top candidates could include district judges: Ram Vinograd, Ruth Ronen, Yigal Marzel, Gila Kanfu-Steinetz, Ron Sokol, Tamara Bazak-Rappaport, Revital Yafa-Katz and Michal Agmon-Gonen.
Former justice ministry director-general Sigal Yacobi, former IDF military advocate general Maj. Gen. (res.) Sharon Afek, former Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, former chief public defender Yoav Sapir are also well-known candidates.
Some other candidates who have been hyped in the media are: Kobi Sharbit, Nati Simhoni, Professor Shahar Lifshitz and former chief government bankruptcy officer David Hahn.

A screen capture of the live stream feed from a hearing at the High Court of Justice (credit: screenshot)A screen capture of the live stream feed from a hearing at the High Court of Justice (credit: screenshot)

Of the three non-Israel-Arab slots, at least one is expected to be a woman and the political class has been insisting that two of the three will be conservative given Sa’ar and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s leanings.
The coalition’s center-left majority have been relatively silent on how hard they would fight for a two to two split or three to one split in favor of more liberal justices.
Though conventionally the Supreme Court is categorized as liberal, Shaked already shifted it to almost a conservative majority during her 2015-2019 era as justice minister.
Given that three of the four retiring justices in this round are liberals, Sa’ar and Shaked could finally gain a majority on the court and even cement the majority by 2023 when two more moderate liberals retire.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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