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Monday, January 26, 2015

Ind. Courts - " EDITORIAL: Keep current retirement age for jurists"

From a Jan. 20th NWI Times editorial:

Indiana state Sen. Earline Rogers wants to set a retirement age of 80 for future Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices.

While we recognize that people over age 75 can still work hard and contribute — Rogers, at age 80, is Exhibit A — we also appreciate the value of a fresh perspective.

Senate Bill 12, co-sponsored by Rogers, nearly died in a Senate committee last week as senators debated the merits of fresh ideas versus long experience that can feed wisdom.

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, age 46, said older judges are staying on the bench too long, preventing younger attorneys from gaining judicial experience.

Head's argument won over three other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but five others, including Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, supported the higher retirement age Rogers proposes.

Randolph is a co-author of SB 12.

The legislation wouldn't affect existing justices who would hit age 75 before facing a retention vote. They would still retire at 75 as scheduled, regardless of the fate of this legislation.

A 2013 Senate proposal to eliminate the retirement age altogether was passed 36-12 in the Senate but never got a vote in the House.

This year's legislation would apply only to the five Indiana Supreme Court justices and the 15 Court of Appeals judges, but Head makes a good point about getting fresh blood in those positions.

A mandatory retirement age is a somewhat arbitrary number, to be sure. But someone age 75, especially someone on the bench, should be able to retire comfortably.

This isn't about shoving experienced jurists aside; rather, it's a desire to get younger viewpoints on the issues.

Let’s keep the retirement age for judges and justices at 75.

ILB: SB 12 is on the Senate 3rd reading calendar today. See also this ILB post from Jan. 8.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 26, 2015 09:09 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts