Ballot Question on raising some judges retirement to 80

Posted at: 10/25/2013 5:04 PM
Updated at: 10/25/2013 5:49 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - The ballot question doesn't cover all judges, just the highest court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, which is actually a mid-level body in New York.

The exact provisions differ for the two courts, but basically would allow judges to serve up to age 80.

"At 70 you're not in your prime to play middle linebacker or shortstop or point guard but you are in your prime as a judge," said Bruce Gyory of Justice For All 2013.

Most organizations and individuals taking a position on this favor raising the retirement age, but not Citizens Union.

"To say that for many of the trial court judges in New York State, they have to retire by 70 unless you're a Supreme Court or a Court of Appeals judge then you can stay until a retirement of 80 is inconsistent," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union. 

The nation's highest judicial body, the Supreme Court, has no retirement requirement.

"Some of our greatest judicial decisions have been written by people like Louis Brandeis and Oliver Wendell Holmes and Thurgood Marshall and now Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia who were all past 70," said Gyory.

Dadey countered that "it's a well-intended reform that is just too small and too selective. If you're going to address this issue of when judges should retire let's take a look at the issue system wide, not just for a few courts."