Citizens Union wants judicial age amendment defeated

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A New York City good-government group says a ballot proposition to raise the retirement age for state judges is “too selective” and will create inequities among the judiciary.

In a statement Tuesday, Citizens Union came out against the proposed amendment to the state Constitution, which would allow most judges to serve until they’re 80, if they’re physically and mentally fit. The current mandatory retirement age is 70, though state Supreme Court justices can receive a waiver to serve until 76.

Specifically, the group said it has concerns with the language of the amendment, which would only apply to state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges. Supreme Court justices, meanwhile, would have to receive a certification every two years saying they’re fit to serve, while Court of Appeals judges would be able to serve the remainder of their term if it surpasses 70.

“Citizens Union believes there is no principled reason for raising the retirement age for only two groups of judges – judges of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court – and not having the same apply to the majority of the state’s judges,” the group wrote in its opposition memo. “Further, even the amendment’s limited changes appear arbitrary. Supreme Court justices would be certificated, but no such evaluation process would be in place for Court of Appeals judges to determine whether they are able to perform the duties of the office.”

The judicial age amendment is one of six ballot initiatives for Nov. 5. They’re highlighted by Proposition 1, which will ask voters to change to state Constitution to permit up to seven private casinos statewide.

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  1. Taxpayer and Voter on

    Very few are mentally fit after 70. Most need to take a nap in the middle of the day and often fall asleep in the middle of a trial. It is not justice to have an inattentive judge sleeping on the bench. I am in favor of psychological evaluations for ALL of them regardless of their age. As Judge Judy once observed, just because you have a family does not make you a good family court judge.