Ex-justices sue over judge retirement age question phrasing

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Two retired Supreme Court justices and a Philadelphia lawyer want the courts to rework a ballot question about amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to give judges five more years before they’re forced to retire.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Commonwealth Court by ex-justices Ronald Castille and Stephen Zappala Sr., and lawyer Dick Sprague, says the wording will defraud voters because it doesn’t specify there’s currently a mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

They argue that gives the impression the proposed age of 75 would be the state’s first mandatory retirement age.

Lawmakers voted in April to remove wording in the referendum that explained there is an existing age limit and they ordered new phrasing for the November ballot.

Backers of the current language say it’s simpler and more people will vote in the fall.

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