Arizona: you can adjudicate my case, but you can’t buy a beer (redux); committee hearing set for next week to eliminate minimum age for judges

In 2011, I noted that at that time several legislatures were considering raising the minimum age to be a judge. There have been recent instances of 26 and 27 year old judges and records indicate a 17 year old justice of the peace in Indiana in 1974 (Indiana has since disbanded these local courts) and an 18 year old high school student elected justice of the peace in Texas in 1990 and still on the bench today.

Arizona provides its Justice of the Peace court judges need only be 18 and a qualified voter and resident but requires its Superior Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court judges be at least 30.

That, however, may change.

HCR 2036 as filed and set for a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee next week would remove the constitutional requirement that Superior Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court judges/justices be at least 30. It would also eliminate the minimum age requirements for state executive and legislative positions.

There may, however be a practical impediment to the possibility of a future 18 year old sitting on an Arizona Superior Court. The constitution also requires that the person up for a judgeship also be “admitted to the practice of law in and a resident of the state for five years next preceding their taking office.”