Egypt's Islamist-led parliament has pushed ahead with a controversial judicial law despite rising uproar among judges and the opposition who fear Islamists' control over courts.

The judiciary, with mostly secular-minded professional judges, is seen by many Egyptians as the only remaining buffer against Islamists' monopoly of power following the ouster of authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Ihab Fahmy, a spokesman for President Mohammed Morsi, said Wednesday that the Islamist president respects the judges and has assured them that he won't accept an assault on the judiciary.

The legislature has voted in favor of three drafted laws proposed by Islamic groups and opened the floor for further debate. One drops the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60, which would affect nearly a quarter of Egypt's 13,000 judges and prosecution officials.