While there is talk of a compromise formulated by the president and the opposition is united in its demand to stop the judicial reform legislation as a prerequisite for compromise, the coalition plans to do the exact opposite next week, increase the legislative pace, and even promote a more comprehensive version, Reshet Bet Radio reported Wednesday morning.
It stands to reason that the coalition’s stepping into high gear is meant to incentivize the other side: if you hold on to your prerequisites like a teenage girl before prom night, you’ll find yourself without a corsage.
With the deadline of March 27, the last day of the Knesset’s winter session, the second part of the reform, dealing with the judicial review of legislation and the override clause will go to a preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum, while the first part, dealing with changing the composition of the committee to elect Judges and barring the High Court from invalidating basic (constitutional) laws, will progress through a series of marathon debates in the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee in preparation for a second and third reading ASAP.
Meanwhile, Israeli media are saturated with speculations regarding the president’s suggested compromises, even as the opposition is playing a stronger hard-to-get game than its 46 Knesset seats should permit (the 10 Arab MKs are essentially out of the game). These suggestions are coming in from all over the political arena, and there’s no guarantee that any of them will be included in the president’s outline (again, should such an outline be debated by the opposition parties).
The coalition may soften one of the reforms, reducing the number of judges required to annul a Knesset law from a unanimous 15 judges to 12, and maybe even 10 – only regarding an ordinary law. Basic laws remain verboten.
Another compromise, supposedly, comes from the left, which won’t get in the way of “Deri 2,” barring the court from revoking ministerial appointments.
There’s also––again, supposedly––compromise on the workings of the override clause, in cases where the court annuls a law that the Knesset wants to keep: the override would be passed as a temporary measure which the next Knesset, should it so desire, would turn into permanent legislation, but it would require four instead of three plenum votes.
Regarding Basic laws, which former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak defined as laws that have the words “Basic Law” in their title, now that they would likely be outside the court’s purview, will require a more elaborate process (say the speculation reports). Should a basic law be voted in by fewer than 70 MKs, or should it constitute changing the election system, it would require a fourth, ratifying vote by the following Knesset.
Also, the existing basic laws which have been passed by pitiful majorities (way fewer than 61 votes) must be reenacted by a 70-vote majority and then they would be open to amendments.
Meanwhile, as I said at the beginning of this hazy report based on hazy media pronouncements, the Levin-Rothman locomotive is roaming through the political landscape with the aim of passing the reform, compromised or otherwise, by Monday, 5 Nissan, nine days before Pesach.