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House panel approves Vaupel resolution eliminating age limits on judges

House panel approves Vaupel resolution eliminating age limits on judges

A resolution introduced by state Rep. Hank Vaupel, of Fowlerville, to remove age limitations currently placed on judges was approved today by the House Judiciary Committee.
Currently, the Michigan Constitution requires state justices and judges to retire after they turn 70. Vaupel’s resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to eliminate the mandatory retirement age.
“This legislation is long overdue. It doesn’t make sense to force good, competent judges to stop serving simply because they’ve reached a certain arbitrary age,” Vaupel said. “The restriction is causing the loss of knowledge and experience exhibited by judges who have years of experience serving on the bench.”
Vaupel said when the language was first added to the Michigan Constitution in 1955, the average life expectancy for Americans was just 70 years old. The life expectancy in the U.S. today is much higher.
“An age restriction is not needed to protect the public from judges who are unfit to preside because there are already adequate measures in place to accomplish that goal,” Vaupel said, noting that the Judicial Tenure Commission investigates and recommends the removal of judges for cause.
House Joint Resolution G now moves to the full House for consideration. If approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate, the measure would be placed on the ballot for voters to consider.

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