Netanyahu working to advance broad override power over Supreme Court
Prime minister clashes with Minister Bennett during a coalition heads' meeting Wednesday in a bid to amend Prevention of Infiltration Law; Minister Kahlon skips meeting, says will only support a specific override power concerning the migrant issue.
Netanyahu informed the ministers that he would advance the wider version of override power. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who opposes the broader move, didn't showed up for the discussion.
During the meeting, Bennett urged Netanyahu to convene the Ministerial Committee for Legislation the same day to approve the wider override power. The prime minister refused, saying an alternative option should be looked into.
Sources close to Kahlon said the finance minister had made his stance on the issue clear to the prime minister's chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz. Kahlon stressed that his Kulanu party would only support a specific override power to urgently handle the infiltrator issue.
Netanyahu said he would advance the override power according to a British model suggested by Minister Yariv Levin. The prime minister added that the coalition leaders would convene for a quick meeting on Sunday to advance the legislation as soon as possible.
According to the British model, the Supreme Court would be able to point to constitutional difficulties which would be presented to the legislature, but would be unable to strike down a law.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit hasn’t been asked for his opinion on the issue yet, but Justice Ministry sources believe he will accept the adoption of an override power only as part of Basic Law: Legislation, which would define the relationship between the state's different authorities.
In such an event, Mandelblit would be in favor of legislation regulating the Supreme Court's authorities to strike a law over a violation of rights, but the Knesset's authority to reenact the law would require a majority of 70 Knesset members rather than 61, as suggested by Minister Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
"There is a ready British model and it will be discussed properly on Sunday," one of Netanyahu's associates said. "Apart from Bennett, none of the coalition heads asked to convene the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, because Bennett's proposal is weaker than the one the coalition heads would like to advance at this time."
Minister Levin said, "We may have to reach a compromise later because the law has to be approved by the Knesset, but I believe we should go for a broader move which has a wider consensus. Going for a specific override power will only cause damage because it won't pass the High Court test, like in the case of an override power concerning the IDF draft law."
On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) discussed a petition filed by human rights organizations for the release of over 200 illegal African migrants detained in Saharonim detention facility.
The state, which is against releasing the migrants at least until after the conclusion of negotiations with a third country, said to be Uganda, insists that their deportation to the east African country is still on the cards.