Monday, November 06, 2006


Vote "yes" on Constitutional Amendment 3 to help end age discrimination

Constitutional Amendment 3 removes the requirement that state judges must retire at age 70. In practice, it affects younger judges. Who would want to give up a lucrative law practice at say 65 knowing that in five more years you're out?

But Amendment 3 does more than remove discrimination against judges
and give everyone the benefit of their wisdom and experience. It also removes discrimination against older citizens of the state.

I'm getting older and I have the right to see someone like myself on the bench. This is the same argument made by African-Americans, by women, and by others who fought hard for their civil rights over the years.

Try telling women that the judges they come before should never be female. Or try convincing people of color that they can only be tried by white judges. It's the same for age discrimination. You can't tell me that a case I may be involved in can only be interpreted by a young judge.

Our laws are made by a diverse group of people--age, race, and gender discrimination are not allowed. There should be similar diversity in interpreting those laws.

By voting “yes” on Amendment 3 voters can remove age discrimination not only against judges but against ordinary citizens as well.


I can offer maybe a different perspective.

I worked in a Court Administration (not here) for nearly 20 years, so I have a pretty good understanding of the internal processes.

I'm sure that elderly judges have much to offer in terms of experience for creating legal opinions. But Judges also function as a board overseeing the Court Administration. And that is where the most harm comes from elderly judges.

Courts are tremendously expensive entities, in terms of cost per hour. Inefficient operations can cut directly to the fundementals of the right to equal and speedy access to the Courts.

There are always exceptions, but my experience has been the the elderly bench are very needy. They don't use the computer systems, they require arcane procedures specific to their particular courtroom. They can't do legal research online, and the legal book subscriptions are hugely expensive. They often are inappropriate with staff, causing endless personell issues.

To my mind, the age cap should be extended to all Government Administrators. Surely there are some fine young legal minds available who also understand moderne office practices.

I'm pretty sure the younger judges won't forget how to use computers as they grow older. Sure, the elderly bench don't use computers now, but that's a characteristic of the "typewriter" generation or whatever one might call it.

Actually, I remember when older men were criticized because they couldn't type (women typed, men dictated, if you recall).

But let me tell you about Prof. Martin Bernstein in New York, who at age 91 got himself a really hot new computer because his old Pentium 2 just wasn't fast enough for the work he was throwing at it.

Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older