This November's general election ballot will include a question on whether to update an 1869 provision of the state Constitution. If the ballot question is passed by the voters, the mandatory retirement age for Court of Appeals Judges and Supreme Court Justices will increase from age 70 to age 80.
The New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers is the first statewide bar association to announce its support of the referendum question's passage.
"This revision to the state Constitution is long overdue," said Academy President Joseph Bavaro. "When the Constitution was amended last in 1869 requiring mandatory retirement at age 70, the average life expectancy was vastly different than it is today."
The current Constitutional policy results in the arbitrary loss of many highly qualified and competent judges, he said.
"Judges are being forced off the bench at a time when they are at the peak of their productivity and intellectual powers," Bavaro commented. "The people of the state are being deprived of the valuable accumulated legal and practical knowledge of these experienced jurists."
The Academy also encouraged the state legislature to take the issue one step further by passing legislation to further amend the state Constitution to increase the retirement age of all state-paid judges to age 80.
The Academy will encourage its 2,000-plus statewide members to help get out the "yes" vote on ballot question six.