Should New Hampshire repeal its age limit on state judges and sheriffs?
By: LFDA Editor
According to the New Hampshire Constitution, judges and sheriffs are barred from holding office after they reach age 70.
There are no age limits for federal judges, and 19 states do not require judges to retire at a certain age.
Those in favor of removing age limits note that life expectancies have increased since the New Hampshire Constitution was drafted. Older judges also bring the benefit of greater experience.
Those in favor of keeping age limits argue that the law protects New Hampshire from judges whose best years may be behind them. Given the importance of judges, the state has a particular interest in ensuring that judges are mentally and physically up to the task.
In 2014 Rep. Joel Winters (D-Nashua) sponsored CACR 14, a constitutional amendment that would end the age limit for sheriffs. The House killed that bill March 6, 2014.
In the 2013 legislative session, Rep. Mary Beth Walz
(D-Bow) introduced HB 281
to permit retired judges over age 70 to serve on the bench under special circumstances. The bill was rejected by the House Judiciary Committee in January, then killed by the full House a month later.