As I mentioned in prior posts on this subject, many states either came out of the Revolution (like New York’s 1777 constitution), or entered into the Union (like Hawaii when it was admitted into statehood), with mandatory judicial retirement ages.
The states considering revisions to their ages (Oregon and Pennsylvania) are actually in this respect very, very late adopters.
Pennsylvania (193 years)
Pennsylvania has had 5 state constitutions. Of these, only 1 adopted in 1968 and going into effect in 1969 made mention of mandatory judicial retirement ages.
It was not until 1968 and the adoption of Art. V, Sec. 16(b) that the mandatory age was put in as the result of concerns expressed by members of constitutional convention regarding judges aging into senility (See pages 199-200).
Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be retired upon attaining the age of 70 years.
Justices, judges and justices of the peace shall be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70 years.
Oregon (103 years)
Oregon has had 1 constitution but, effectively, 2 Judiciary Articles. The first (now called Article VII (Original)) was adopted in 1857 and made no mention of a mandatory retirement age. A 1910 revision, called Article VII (Amended), also made no mention.
It wasn’t until 1960 that a mandatory judicial retirement age was worked into the state’s constitution as Article VII (Amended), Sec. 1a. It wasn’t as prescriptive as the Pennsylvania model, instead allowing the legislature to set an age from end-of-year-turns-70 to 75.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1, Article VII (Amended) of this Constitution, a judge of any court shall retire from judicial office at the end of the calendar year in which he attains the age of 75 years. The Legislative Assembly or the people may by law:
(1) Fix a lesser age for mandatory retirement not earlier than the end of the calendar year in which the judge attains the age of 70 years