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Former chief justice proposes raising age limit for judges

January 27, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s most recently retired Supreme Court chief justice, now a member of the state Legislature, has proposed changing the constitution to allow judges to stay on the bench beyond age 70.

Bob Lynn had to retire when he turned 70 last year. New Hampshire Public Radio reports that he told the House Judiciary Committee that that constitutionally mandated retirement age comes from an earlier time.

“The life expectancy in 1784 was considerably less than 70, so it wasn’t much of a limitation at the time it was placed in the constitution,” said Lynn, a Republican from Windham. “Now things are considerably different.”

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Lynn’s proposal in the House would move the retirement age to 75, but it also gives the Governor and Executive Council the authority to retire judges at 70 if they deem the judge unfit to serve. A separate Senate proposal would remove age limits for judicial service.

The change would need supermajority support from lawmakers and two-thirds support among voters.