Judge, Sheriff Age Limits - Issue Summary

Should New Hampshire repeal its age limit on state judges and sheriffs?

Age Limits for Judges, SheriffsBy: 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.

2014 Legislation

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.

2013 Legislation

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.
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Take Action

If you are interested in age limits for judges and sheriffs and want to take action, here are some choices:

  • If you are new to contacting your government, please visit our page on How to Take Action.
  • Contact one of the organizations listed in Learn More. These groups represent the pro or con positions of issues.
  • Contact a government official as follows:

1. Contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives or the New Hampshire Senate.

2. Contact New Hampshire's Attorney General.

3. Give your opinion to Governor Maggie Hassan

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Learn More/Take Action

Do you think New Hampshire should repeal age limits for judges and sheriffs?  Whatever your thoughts are, we urge you to make your voice heard. See the "Learn More/Take Action" section on this page for more information.

Issue Status

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.

News

August 27, 2014
Charlotte Observer: How old is too old for judges?
August 21, 2014
Voter Update: Who should decide if a judge is 'too old' to serve?