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View from the States: N.H. Votes Down Raising Judicial Retirement Age


The New Hampshire Senate earlier this month rejected a proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age for state judges from 70 to 75.

The Senate voted 13-11 in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment, but three-fifths of both the N.H. House and Senate, plus two-thirds of state’s voters, were needed for adoption.

Most states have a mandatory retirement age for their judges, ranging from age 70 in several states to age 90 in Vermont.

Fix the Court supports an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court justices specifically but in general supports the idea of a mandatory retirement age for the federal judiciary, as well. Whether that age be 70 or 75 is immaterial; what’s important is that implementing this type of proposal would reduce the potential for cognitive decline on the bench and would ensure that justices no longer serve on the high court decades past their nominating president.

The closest such a proposal came to fruition in recent memory occurred in 1954 when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution calling for a judicial retirement age of 75 by a wide margin. The proposals was never taken up by the House.

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