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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

SB 2206

Proposed ConAm to
Raise Mandatory Retirement Age for Justices & Judges

Proposing an Amendment to Article VI, Section 3 of the Hawaii State Constitution to Increase the Mandatory Retirement Age for State Justices and Judges

House Committee on Judiciary (JUD) - chair: Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran, vice chair: Karl Rhoads

Thursday, March 8, 2012, 2:00 p.m. Conference Room 325

Testifier: Jean Aoki, Legislative Committee, LWV of Hawaii

Click here to view SB2206

Chair Keith-Agaran, Vice Chair Rhoads, and members of the House Committee on Judiciary,

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly supports increasing the mandatory retirement age for justices and judges from 70 to 80 years of age. With the average life span of human beings increasing, the mandatory retirement age of 70 years has deprived our state of the continued services of many leaders who were really at their peak, capable of many more years in their respective positions.

We realize that judgeships demand mental alertness, and know that the Judiciary is very much aware of this and has processes in place to deal with it. If the mandatory retirement age is increased, we would expect that the Judiciary would tighten their monitoring processes.

When we were doing a study in preparation for taking a position on the ConCon question in 1996, the late Professor Jon Van Dyke was among those who raised some interesting questions and suggestions in regard to Article VI, the article on the Judiciary. Some of these were: Should we retain the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges? Are ten-year terms too short? Do shorter terms for judges make for less independent judges? Should the judgeship be a life-time job? Too many young judges who have not had enough experience are appointed as judges. If there were a one 10-year term for judges, the appointment might be viewed as the culmination of a career. (The 10-year term could be 12, 15, or some other number.)

With an increase in the mandatory retirement age to 80, making the judgeship the culmination of one's career could be a consideration for many of our successful attorneys.

We urge the adoption of SB 2206.


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