Monday, October 31, 2016

Judges' Retirement Age Question

What could be scarier for Halloween than talking about the election?

Today's Diary is about the question on the ballot.

"Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?"

Here's what the question doesn't tell you: The current mandatory retirement age is 70 years.

19 judges across Pennsylvania will turn 70 before the end of the year, including PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor. The Republican majority PA legislature doesn't want Saylor to retire in December because he's one of, I think, only 2 Republican justices on the PA Supreme Court, hence the question on the ballot. It's has everything to do with political power and nothing to do with giving elderly justices financial security for another 5 years.

The questions you need to ask yourselves are, can EVERY judge in their 70s do that job? Should they step aside and give younger judges a chance at higher offices?

Also remember, PA judges and justices are elected, not appointed. They don't serve for life. PA District Court judges serve 6-year terms. Higher court judges serve 10-year terms. Justice Saylor's term is up NEXT YEAR. That's right, he'd get only one more guaranteed year if this question passes, before he'd have to run again.

Anyway, it boils down to whether you think PA judges should retire at 70 or 75. Vote NO for 70 and YES for 75.

Don't forget to go vote on November 8.

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