Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Courts - "A New Lease for Old Judges "
Ashby Jones of the WSJ has a story today (subscription required) that begins:
State lawmakers across the nation are pushing to raise—or eliminate altogether—mandatory retirement ages for judges, citing longer life spans and a desire to keep experienced jurists on the bench.As ILB readers know, within the past few years Indiana has eliminated mandatory retirement ages for trial court judges and, this year, a bill is pending (SB 124 - which may have some issues as written) to abolish any retirement age for Indiana appellate court judges. The current requirement is retirement at age 75.
More from the WSJ today:
"Very competent jurists are being forced to retire in the primes of their careers," said Pennsylvania state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican and the sponsor of a bill to eliminate the judicial retirement age. "And when this happens, you have to get their replacements trained, and you lose a good amount of time and experience."
Critics also point to a common practice that undercuts the rationale for mandatory retirement: Retired judges are often allowed to return to the bench to lend a hand at reducing caseloads. In these types of arrangements, judges are often paid by the day. * * *
Not everyone is content to leave the issue to the political process. Last November, six Pennsylvania judges facing mandatory retirement sued the state, alleging age discrimination. Pennsylvania's mandatory retirement provision perpetuates stereotypes that older people are "senile, incompetent, lack productivity, suffer from rigid thinking," the complaint says.
In federal court filings, the state moved for dismissal, saying the U.S. Supreme Court in rulings has allowed such retirement policies. The case is pending. * * *
Others feel that older judges should be forced to make way for new blood. "Age restrictions really are a proxy for term limits," said Charles Geyh, a law professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, and an expert on the judiciary. "There's a fair argument to make that incumbents get entrenched, and one way to usher in new blood is to enforce age restrictions."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 5, 2013 11:13 AM
Posted to Courts in general