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Referendum Could Raise Judges’ Retirement Age to 75

PA Judicial CenterPennsylvania’s judges could get to serve longer.

On Monday, the State Senate voted 36-13 to approve a pair of bills extending the mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75. Pennsylvania voters will now get to vote in a referendum on the issue this April.

Sen. Anthony Williams and Sen. John Wozniak were the only two that spoke during the debate Monday, both oppose the bill.

Williams pointed to the ongoing email scandal which has caused the resignation of one State Supreme Court Justice last year and the investigation of another as proof that judges’ terms shouldn’t be longer.

“These people do not represent the best of Pennsylvania,” he warned. “They should not serve a day longer, but they sure as heck shouldn’t receive the opportunity to serve five additional years.”

Wozniak pointed out that judges only have to run once in a traditional election. After that, they are given another 10-year term through retention votes that are unopposed.

He also mentioned their high salaries and pensions. “I think 70 years of age is plenty of time to make a millionaire out of individuals,” Wozniak said.

Proponents of the bill argue that the courts would benefit from an extended age limit. They believe that a more experienced judiciary will prove to be valuable.

If the age change passes in the vote, all of the Pennsylvania’s approximately 1,000 judges would be affected.

The Senate’s vote completed the two rounds of legislative approval that are necessary for an amendment of the State’s Constitution. In 2013, the Court unanimously ruled against increasing the retirement age.

9 Responses

  1. If you look at it like this. If I had a plush job, like the ones who want the retirement age to increase. I wouldn’t mind, because with a plush job, you have less stress, less worries. You are already financially stable, so you can travel and enjoy as if you were retired. Get a labor job, where you have worked physical labor all your life, and can’t retire until you have one foot in the grave is ridiculous. Politicians and judges are plush jobs. You basically choose your own hours. You wake up when you want to, go to work when you want to. and if someone needs you, you workers will use the same line. they are at a meeting, at a seminar in Hawaii. A summit meeting in Puerto Rico. Anywhere that has sunshine, and Islands. Have you ever heard a summit meeting in Nebraska, St Louis, Alaska, or any other dark and cold climate. No it is always near the beach. Hell I wouldn’t mind working until Im 80 for a job like that.

  2. I witnessed a judge in Lancaster court, who, just before his retirement, didn’t have a clue as to what was happening in his courtroom. 70 is too old! 75 would be ridiculous.

  3. They can receive full Social Security at age 70, along with their pensions. That’s enough! When do the young and capable have an opportunity to serve?

  4. Court Watcher, I think you are on to something. A Senior Judge can earn extremely good money after retirement and work a schedule more to their liking.

  5. Well, in the House, all Democrats voted for the bill, and 44 Republicans voted against it….so I can hardly see where this is a Republican move to keep a hold on the judiciary.

  6. Why would the citizens of Pennsylvania vote for this initiative? The judges took the 2005 payraise, the legislature reversed the legislation and did not take it.

  7. This fall’s judicial sweep by Democrats masks the fact that almost every other high court judge is a Republican. Has this bill finally moved because Republicans now fear Democrats can win more judicial elections?

  8. “More experienced judiciary” at sending porn emails, denying due process to litigants, packing the Disciplinary Boards with their buddies and campaign staffers. Gee, who could argue against that?

    What is overlooked is that these old judges often serve on a per diem basis AFTER retirement. Just observe the ARD hearings in Allegheny County where the tipstaff has to keep waking up the judge, who can barely remember where he is or why.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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