News Coverage on Mandatory Retirement for Judges

Thomson Reuters

Proposal to raise N.Y. judges' retirement age clears Assembly

Daniel Wiessner
Friday, March 1, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (Reuters) - The New York State Assembly on Thursday approved an amendment to the state constitution that would allow state judges to stay on the bench until they turn 80.

Currently, the mandatory retirement age of state Supreme Court Justices is 70. After that, they can be certified every two years to remain on the bench until age 76.

Court of Appeals judges also have a mandatory retirement age of 70, but cannot be certified to serve beyond that.

The amendment would raise the retirement age of all state judges to 80. The measure would allow Supreme Court justices who turn 74 to be certified until they reach 80, while Court of Appeals judges would not have to be certified.

The proposal will now go to the Senate. Under state law, constitutional amendments must be passed by two separately elected legislatures before being put to voters in a referendum for final approval. Both the Assembly and state Senate approved the amendment during the 2011-12 legislative session.

In a statement, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein said the current law is outdated and does not reflect increased life expectancy.

"Mandating that judges retire at 70 has become obsolete and consequently wastes the wealth of knowledge and wisdom that comes from years of experience," Silver said.

The amendment passed 117-25 on Thursday. Assemblyman Michael Montesano of Nassau County, who opposed it, said during the vote that the proposal was discriminatory because it does not require Court of Appeals judges to be certified to continue serving. The certification process includes a physical and psychological exam.

Eighteen states, including California and Delaware, do not have a mandatory retirement age for judges. The states that do place it between 70 and 75, except Vermont, which requires judges to retire at 90.

Press Clip Relevance

This clip is relevant because it is giving a progress repot of the constitutional amendment as it makes its way through the State Legislature.



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