Arizona Proposition 115: What courts/states have mandatory judicial retirement and at what age?

In addition to extending most judicial terms to 8 years, Arizona’s Proposition 115 would also change the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 75.

As I noted last year when this subject came up in the Ohio ballot, 32 states plus D.C. have age limits for at least some of their judges. While Arizona’s current 70 is the most typical age, several states use 75: Kansas, Missouri (municipal court judges), Oregon, Texas (Appellate + District), Utah, and Washington.

A chart listing all mandatory retirement ages for state judges is below. (Updated 2/12/2013)

State

Appellate

Trial

Constitution or Statute

Notes

Alabama

70

70

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 155 (Amended), Amendment 328

May not be elected or appointed after 70.

Alaska

70

70

Constitution: Art. IV, Sec. 11

Arizona

70

70/Varies

Constitution: Art. VI, Secs. 20 & 39

Municipal courts: Varies

Arkansas

 70  70 Arkansas law does not specific a retirement age for judges, however a judge that fails to resign at age 70 forfeits all pension/retirement benefits. See Arkansas Code § 24-8-215(c)

California

Colorado

72

72

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 23

Connecticut

70

70

Constitution: Art. V, Sec. 6

Delaware

District of Columbia

74

74

Statute: 1-204.31(c)

Florida

70

70

Constitution: Art. V, Sec. 8

May complete term if more than 50% of it has been served at age 70.

Georgia

Some but not all Municipal courts have mandatory retirement ages.

Hawaii

70

70

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 3

Idaho

Illinois

*

*

Constitution: Art. 6, Sec. 15

Statute: 705 ILCS 55/1*

May serve out term in which turns 75. Statute was declared by the Supreme Court of Illinois to be unconstitutional, as written, because the Act violated the doctrine of equal protection. See: Maddux v. Blagojevich, 233 Ill. 2d 508 (2009).

Indiana

 75 Statute: IC 33-38-13-8

Iowa

72

72

Statute: 602.1610

Kansas

75

75

Statute: 20-2608(a)

May serve out term in which turns 75.

Kentucky

Louisiana

70

70/None

Constitution: Art. V, Sec. 23

May serve out term in which turns 70. Mayors’ court judges have no age limit.

Maine

Maryland

70

70/None

Constitution: Art. IV, Sec. 3

Orphan’s Court judges have no mandatory retirement age.

Massachusetts

70

70

Constitution: Art. 1, Part 2, Ch. 3

Michigan

70

70

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 19

May not be elected or appointed after 70.

Minnesota

70

70

Constitution: Art. 6, Sec. 9

Statute: 490.121(21d) & 490.125

May serve to end of month turns 70.

Mississippi

Missouri

70

70/75

Constitution: Art. V, Sec. 26

Statute: 479.020(7)

70 for Circuit Court, 75 for Municipal Court.

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

70

70

Constitution: Art. 78

New Jersey

70

70

Constitution: Art. XI, Sec. IV

New Mexico

New York

70

70/None

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 25

Generally: May serve until end of year in which 70 is reached. Town/Village: No age limit.

North Carolina

72

72

Constitution: Art. IV, Sec. 6

Statute: 7A-4.20

May serve to end of month turns 72.

North Dakota

Ohio

70

70/None

Constitution: Art. IV, Sec. 6

Section interpreted as meaning may serve until end of term turns 70. Mayors’ court judges have no age limit.

Oklahoma

Oregon

75

75

Constitution: Art. VII (Amended), Sec. 1a

Constitution allows age to be reduced to as low as 70 by statute or initiative.

Pennsylvania

70

70

Constitution: Art. V, Sec. 16

May serve until end of year in which 70 is reached.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

72

72

Statute: 9-8-40 & 9-8-60

No limit for Probate or Municipal Courts.

South Dakota

70

70

Statute: 16-1-4.1

May serve into the January after attaining age 70.

Tennessee

Texas

74

74/None

Constitution: Art. 5, Sec. 1-a

Legislature may set at any age from 70 to 75. District & Criminal District Court: May serve out term in which turns 75 if completed at least 4 years of 6 year term. Municipal: Varies. All other trial courts: No limit.

Utah

75

75

Constitution: Art. VIII, Sec. 14

Statute: 49-18-701

Vermont

90

90

Constitution: Sec. 35

Statute: 4-609

Legislature may set anywhere from end of the calendar year in which judge attains 70 to end of the term when judge attains 90. Legislature has opted for end of year attain 90.

Virginia

70

70

Constitution: Art. VI, Sec. 9

Statute: 51.1-305(B1)

May serve until 20 days after the convening of the next regular session of the General Assembly.

Washington

75

75

Constitution: Art. IV, Sec. 3(a)

May serve until end of year in which 75 is reached.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

70

70/None

Constitution: Art. 5, Sec. 5

 District: 70 Circuit & Municipal: None