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Judges’ mandatory-retirement challenge fails in Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Posted Jun 18, 2013 9:49 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Pennsylvania judges challenging the state’s mandatory retirement age have failed to persuade the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the state constitutional provision is invalid.

The court rejected the judges’ challenge on Monday, saying they should pursue a constitutional amendment if they dislike the provision requiring retirement at age 70, according to the Morning Call and the Patriot-News.

The mandatory retirement age was adopted as a constitutional amendment in 1968. The judges asserted that, since the amendment was passed, medical advances have made it possible to stay effective beyond age 70.

The judges had alleged the mandatory retirement age conflicts with the state constitution’s Declaration of Rights protecting the “inherent rights of mankind.” They also claimed their election to a 10-year term gave them a property right to keep their jobs for the entire time. The unanimous opinion (PDF) rejected those claims.

"We do not believe that the charter's framers regarded an immutable ability to continue in public service … as being within the scope of the inherent rights of mankind," the court said.

A separate challenge to the mandatory retirement age is pending in federal court.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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