Judges sue Pa. over mandatory retirement law

Six Pennsylvania judges have filed a lawsuit over a state law that requires them to retire at the age of 70.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Commonwealth Court claims the law violates their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

The Pennsylvania Constitution mandates all state justices and judges retire at the end of the calendar year in which they turn 70.

Robert Heim, counsel for the judges, said some of the state's finest and most experienced legal minds are being denied the opportunity to serve solely because of their age.

“In today's world, there is no good reason to think that judges who are 70 are not equally competent as judges who are younger,” Heim said in a statement.

The lawsuit notes that the judges have been singled out by the state Constitution on the basis of age, not ability, and are treated differently than other state officers and employees, who are not forced to retire due to their age.

The suit was filed on behalf of Judge John Driscoll, Judge John W. Herron, Senior Judge Benjamin Lerner, Judge Sandra Mazer Moss, Judge Joseph D. O'Keefe, and Judge Leonard N. Zito.

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