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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: December 4, 2012 10:24 AM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Judges retirement age
I am introducing legislation proposing an amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution eliminating the requirement under Article V, section 16(b) that “Justices, judges and justices of the peace [magisterial district judges] shall be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70 years.”
Last session legislation was introduced increasing the retirement age from 70 years to 75 years. Since that time two lawsuits have been filed in Commonwealth Court by judges arguing that the constitutional requirement to retire at age 70 is unconstitutional because it violates their federal constitutional rights to equal protection.
Arguably the mandatory retirement age is a form of age discrimination not applied to other public officials. In addition, under Article V, section 18 of the State constitution, a justice or judge may be removed for “mental or physical disability” making the age requirement redundant.
If the proposed amendment is adopted, justices and judges could serve as long as they desire and are able subject to retention elections or, in the case of magisterial district judges, partisan elections.
As a proposed constitutional amendment, this legislation must pass each house of the General Assembly in two separate sessions and then must be presented to the voters for adoption.

Introduced as SB85