Constitutional Amendment Removes on Judges' Age Limit

04/05/02 12:00AM

(Host) The Vermont House has given its strong approval to a proposed constitutional amendment concerning the retirement age for judges. The vote paves the way for a statewide referendum on this issue in November because the House action was the final Legislative step in the process to amend the Constitution.

Currently, the Vermont Constitution calls for all state judges to retire at the age of 70. This amendment would allow the Legislature to establish a new retirement age but the age could not be less than 70.

Burlington Representative Steve Hingtgen said that 70 is no longer an appropriate age to require judges to retire:

(Hingtgen) "Mandatory retirement for judges stands out today as an anomaly, a rare vestige of now repudiated age discrimination┬┐. Studies show that the very abilities we look for in judges' wisdom, and the ability to use knowledge and expertise remains stable or actually increase in older age. Mandatory retirement can deprive our state of some of its best judges."

(Host) If voters support the proposed amendment in November, it will apply to all judges currently serving in the state.
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