Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PA Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory Judicial Retirement, Again

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has again found the state's mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 to be constitutional, reported the Legal Intelligencer.

After ruling similarly last month in Driscoll v. Corbett and Tilson v. Corbett, the justices in a per curiam opinion in Friedman v. Corbett found the additional issues in that case don't overcome the bar set in Driscoll. The court ruled the constitution allows for the people to tailor how its government operates, including term limits and retirement ages.

In Friedman, the justices first denied the plaintiffs the opportunity to develop a factual record in the case, finding evidence of societal changes since the retirement age was put in place in 1968 or the understanding of the electorate that they were voting for judges who couldn't finish full terms was not going to have a material impact on the constitutionality of the retirement age.

Additionally, evidence is unnecessary relative to the claim that the age-70 retirement mandate is irrational, since this claim represents a legal conclusion that we rejected in Driscoll," the justices said. 

The justices said an elector has the right to choose whom to vote for, but is not entitled to the judge's services beyond his term of office.

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