The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in two lawsuits challenging a state law requiring judges to retire at age 70. A 1989 decision, Gondelman v. Commonwealth, upheld the practice as constitutional, but several judges are asking the court to look at the issue anew.
Both suits name Gov. Tom Corbett, Court Administrator Zygmont A. Pines and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol T. Aichele as defendants.
The plaintiffs claim the retirement age violates their rights under Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution. They also point out that current law allows for the removal of incompetent or incapacitated judges regardless of age.
The issue may hit close to home for some on the Supreme Court bench. Four of the six current justices will turn 70 within the next six years.