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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ind. Law - Constitutional issues with several judiciary-related bills

"Bill would eliminate mandatory retirement age for Indiana appellate judges" is the headline to a story in the Evansville Courier & Press. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson and other appellate court judges may get more time in their positions if a proposed Senate bill is adopted during this General Assembly.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Brent Dickson - shown here after his election to chief justice - could serve beyond 75 under legislation introduced in the Senate. The bill would eliminate a mandatory retirement age of 75 for all appellate judges. * * *

Senate Bill 124 could enable 71-year-old Chief Justice Brent Dickson to keep his position past 2016 – if he wanted to. Dickson – who only became chief justice last year – didn’t request the legislation and Senator Buck said he didn’t offer it with Dickson in mind.

ILB: But that is incorrect. [H/T: Joel Schumm] The law, if enacted, would not impact sitting appellate judges/justices. The Ind. Const., Art. 7, Sec. 11 reads in part:
Sec. 11. * * * Every such justice and judge shall retire at the age specified by statute in effect at the commencement of his current term.
[More] Another problem with the bill is it simply strikes out entirely the language "Every justice of the supreme court and judge of the court of appeals shall retire at seventy-five (75) years of age." Apparently the intent was to leave no limitation. But again, the Constitution requires that an age to be specified by statute.

Another bill, SB 123, authored by Senator Delph, would limit the salary of state and local public officers and employees, including the judiciary, to the salary paid to the governor. Again, this would not impact current judges and justices because of the Ind. Constitution, which provides at Art. 7, Section 19:

Section 19. Pay. The Justices of Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals and of the Circuit Courts shall at stated times receive a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
In addition, this bill does not take into account the compromise measure on judges' pay passed in 2007, linking judges' and legislators' salaries.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 9, 2013 03:52 PM
Posted to Indiana Law