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How to Ensure Judges and Justices Remain Sharp As They Age

D.C. has a long history of public servants serving past their primes, from Supreme Court Justice William Douglas (right) holding on to his seat for nearly a year after a debilitating 1976 stroke to President Reagan exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s at the end of his presidency to rumors of nonagenarian Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) staff placing his finger on the “aye” or “nay” button during key votes a decade ago.

And with Americans more likely nowadays to continue working into their twilight years, we need to ensure that Washington is equipped to handle the various problems associated with aging, specifically the potential for cognitive decline in federal judges who, unlike their counterparts in the executive and legislative branches, are appointed for life.

Since no one wants a diminished judge or justice to be the deciding vote on a case of national importance, FTC’s Gabe Roth writes in an op-ed in The Hill about how the federal courts can do more to ensure its hundreds of life-appointed jurists remain cognitively unimpaired.

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