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City Bar Backs Raising Retirement Age for Judges

The New York City Bar Association has issued a statement in support of Proposal 6 to be on the ballot on November 5th. The proposal would amend section 25, article 6 of the New York State Constitution to raise the mandatory retirement age to 80 for Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices.

“The City Bar supports Proposal 6, consistent with our longstanding position that the mandatory judicial retirement age, which was enacted in 1869, is outdated. Many individuals who reach the age of 70 have a substantial number of productive years ahead of them. Many states and the federal judiciary permit judges to serve past the age of 70, and New York should as well. The certification process is in place to determine that only those who remain competent to serve will be permitted to continue,” reads the statement.

The statement cites the potential impact that raising the retirement age would have on the strained court system: “The Office of Court Administration estimates that up to 40 justices who otherwise would retire might remain on the bench over the next four years. Despite growing caseloads, the number of positions authorized for trial level judges has remained constant and there is little prospect that more positions will be authorized. By ensuring that experienced, productive judges continue to serve, the amendment provides the clearest path to increase judicial capacity in the foreseeable future.” The amendment also would permit the transfer of Supreme Court justices to the State’s seriously overburdened Family Courts.

In addition to addressing Proposal 6, the statement calls for the Legislature, in the coming session, to turn its attention to additional constitutional amendments that would allow all judges to serve past the age of 70, and would consolidate and simplify the State’s court system. “For decades, commissions, scholars, legislative panels, and others (including the City Bar) have decried the inefficient and wasteful structure of New York’s trial courts and advanced proposals for reform.  The latest commission estimated that court consolidation would save the State $500 million per year.  Time after time, however, such efforts have stalled because of entrenched and competing interests and a lack of political will.  So, while we support the current amendment as a step in the right direction on retirement age, we believe that it should be the first step in a much broader effort at constitutional reform of the judiciary,” reads the statement.

The statement can be read here: http://bit.ly/15hzupi

 

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