N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 643


REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF ESSEX COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONCERNING CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION OF THE JUDICIAL ARTICLE

Part II


3. SELECTION, TENURE, RETIREMENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGES


Methods of Selection

power by the governor to the senator, and the use of the confirming power as a bargaining lever in legislation and otherwise.

Terms of Judicial Office

The terms of office fixed for judges of the highest appellate courts are as follows:

  •    Two years:   Vermont;  
  •    Six years:   Ala., Fla., Ga., Ida., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Minn., Mont., Neb., Nev., N. J., Ohio, Okla., Ore., S. D., Tex., Utah and Wash.;  
  •    Seven years:   Maine;  
  •    Eight years:   Ark., Conn. (changed from during good behavior in 1856), Ky., Miss., N. M., N. C., Tenn., Wyo.;  
  •    Nine years:   Ill.;  
  •    Ten years:   Colo., N. D., S. C., Wis.;  
  •    Twelve years:   Cal., Del., Mo., Va., W. Va.;  
  •    Fourteen years:   La., N. Y.;  
  •    Fifteen years:   Md.;  
  •    Twenty-one years:   Pa. (but not eligible for re-election).  

In Michigan the term is subject to designation by the legislature; in Rhode Island each judge holds at the will of the legislature; in Massachusetts and in New Hampshire the term is during good behavior. Federal judges are also appointed during good behavior.

Advocates of appointment for limited terms are influenced by the desirability of continuous responsibility for good judicial performance to the appointing power. Proponents of judicial tenure during good behavior, on the other hand, maintain that such responsibility may be converted, in actual practice, into a sense of insecurity and to the coloration of judicial decisions by their potential effect upon reappointment.

Mandatory Retirement Ages

The viewpoint that a reasonable mandatory retirement age should be fixed for judicial officers is coming to be widely accepted. Such a provision would appear appropriate for inclusion in the Constitution if it provides for tenure of judges during good behavior. The fact that most states do not in their constitution provide for mandatory retirement ages may be due to the general absence of life tenure.

The only state constitutions which presently provide for a mandatory retirement age are New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maryland, in all of which the age is 70, and Louisiana, where the age is 80.

Constitutional Provision for Pensioning Judges

We have been able to find no state const itution, other than that of Louisiana, which makes any provision for mandatory pensioning


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