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Article published June 17, 2013
State high court upholds judge’s retirement age
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that judges must retire at 70 years old. The judges unanimously rejected a challenge to a portion of the state constitution that requires judges to retire by the end of the year in which they turn 70. The justices ruled Monday in two cases in which judges say the constitutional provision conflicts with another one that prevents age discrimination. Pennsylvania judges who hit age 70 can still hear cases as senior judges who are on contract with the state court system. In the majority opinion, Justice Thomas Saylor writes that the justices don’t believe that the constitution’s architects regarded the ability to serve as a judge beyond 70 years of age as being an inherent right. Rather, he says the mandatory retirement provision is appropriate under equal protection and due process protections.