For IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2013

 

New York State Trial Lawyers Urge Voters to Support Constitutional Amendment Extending Retirement Age for Judges on Supreme Court and Court Of Appeals

 

NYSTLA Asks Public to Remember: Vote YES on Proposal 6

 

Amendment Requires Approval at November General Election, Passed Legislature with Over 80% of Members in Support

 

NEW YORK – Today the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) called on members of the public to vote YES this November to approve Proposed Constitutional Amendment #6, which extends the retirement age for Justices of the state’s Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals.

 

“This amendment takes a common-sense approach to improve the state of our judiciary and is long overdue,” said NYSTLA President Robert Danzi. “The New York State Trial Lawyers Association strongly supports this bill and we urge voters to remember to vote YES on Proposal 6 this November.”

 

The current text, which was enacted over 100 years ago in 1869, mandates that a Justice of the Supreme Court who reaches the mandatory retirement of 70 must retire, but can be certificated to continue service until they reach 76 years of age. Judges of the Court of Appeals, at present, cannot be certificated for continued service and must retire at the age of 70.

 

The proposed amendment would alter the constitution by allowing Justices of the Supreme Court to be certificated for continued service till age 80, if they are mentally and physically competent to fully perform the duties of the office; and by increasing the mandatory retirement age of Court of Appeals judges to 80. No person over 70, however, could be appointed to the Court.

 

“The current retirement ages were enacted when average life expectancy was in the 40s. Given that average life expectancy is 80.9 for a New Yorker, it’s long overdue that we update our state constitution with Proposal #6,” continued Danzi. “Doing so will ensure that New Yorkers who look to the state courts to defend and enforce their legal rights can benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of our most experienced and dedicated jurists.”

 

This year, the Legislature overwhelmingly agreed to send the amendment to voters for approval, with over 80% of the members of the Senate and Assembly voting in favor. (Passed Senate 54 – 9 in June; Passed Assembly 117 – 25 in February). Voters must approve Proposal #6 on November’s general election ballot for it to become law.

 

BACKGROUND

 

This chart summarizes the key changes made by Proposal #6:

 

 

Current

Proposal 6 Amendment

Supreme Court

Retirement age of 70; can be certificated for continued service for 3 additional 2-year terms till age 76.

Retirement age remains 70; can be certificated for continued service for 5 additional 2-year terms till age 80.

Court of Appeals

Retirement age of 70; cannot be certificated for continued service.

Retirement age increased to 80.

 

 

 

The full text of Proposal Number 6, An Amendment, will appear before voters in November as follows:

 

Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve

The proposed amendment to the Constitution, amending sections 2 and 25 of article 6, would increase the maximum age until which certain state judges may serve as follows: (a) a Justice of the Supreme Court would be eligible for five additional two-year terms after the present retirement age of 70, instead of the three such terms currently authorized; and (b) a Judge of the Court of Appeals who reaches the age of 70 while in office would be permitted to remain in service on the Court for up to 10 years beyond the present retirement age of 70 in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

 

 

For the full text of the amendment that will appear before voters, go to: http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/Elections/2013/Proposals/ProposalSixFinal.pdf

 

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