HARRISBURG, Pa – The countdown to the end of Ronald Castille’s career running the state’s highest court started the minute he turned 70 last March and couldn’t be stopped even though voters had retained him for another 10-year term in 2013.
Under the state constitution, the one-time chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court faced mandatory retirement at the end of the year in which he became a septuagenarian jurist.
State Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery, points to Castille’s story as a reason voters should consider her proposal to amend the state constitution to increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. She pointed out the current life expectancy of the average person is about 78, up from 70 years when the constitution was most recently revised in 1968.
Current law boots judges from the bench when they’re “hitting their stride,” Harper said, noting that federal judges receive lifetime appointments and the mandatory retirement age for jurists in Vermont is 90.