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Ohio Judicial Office Age Amendment, Issue 1 (2011)

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Issue 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Ohio Constitution
Referred by:Ohio Legislature
Topic:Judicial reform
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
The Judicial Office Age Amendment was on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Ohio as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.Defeatedd

The measure would have raised the age of those occupying judicial office from 70 to 76. The measure was debated on during 2011 state legislative session. The measure was sent to the ballot before the end of that year's session.[1]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Ohio Issue 1
Defeatedd No2,036,08062.03%
Yes 1,246,535 37.97%

Results via the Ohio Secretary of State with 100% of counties reporting.

Text of measure

Ballot language

The ballot language that voters saw on the ballot read as follows:[2]

Issue 1

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly

To amend Section 6 of Article IV and to repeal Sections 19 and 22 of Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

A majority yes vote is required for the amendment to Section 6 and the repeal of Sections 19 and 22 to pass.

This proposed amendment would:

1. Increase the maximum age for assuming elected or appointed judicial office from seventy
to seventy-five.
2. Eliminate the General Assembly’s authority to establish courts of conciliation.
3. Eliminate the Governor’s authority to appoint members to a Supreme Court Commission.

If approved, the amendment shall take effect immediately.

A “YES” vote means approval of the amendment to Section 6
and the repeal of Sections 19 and 22.
A “NO” vote means disapproval of the amendment to Section 6
and the repeal of Sections 19 and 22.
Shall the Amendment be approved?

Official arguments

See also Official arguments for and against Ohio Judicial Office Age Amendment, Issue 1 (2011)

The following was the introduction to the official argument for Issue 1. Read the entire text:

A “YES” vote for Issue 1 would change the Constitution of Ohio to increase from 70 to 75 the maximum age to which a person may be elected or appointed judge.

The following was the introduction to the official argument against Issue 1. Read the entire text:

Under Article 4 Section 6 of Ohio's Constitution a person of age 70 or older is not eligible for election to a judicial office. The age limit embodied in our state's constitution prevents our bench from being held for decades by an entrenched judiciary. Our judges face election every 6 years. Periodic elections coupled with a reasonable age limit assures that our judiciary remains efficient and productive. Our current system has served Ohio well and the quality of our judiciary has never been better.


The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • Lake County Common Pleas Judge Joe Gibson, who at the age of 69 stated about the next election for his position: "That’s three years away. I don’t know what I would do. I would appreciate it being an option [to run] though. There’s no question 70 is too arbitrary an age. I think as you sit on the bench, age is your friend rather than your enemy. As you grow older, you have more life experiences, more personal experiences. You have more to base your opinions on. You see with more clarity the perils and pitfalls of life. To say you lose that after a certain age, I don’t think that’s fair.”[3]
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist Kevin O'Brien endorsed Issue 1 in a column, stating: "Raising the mandatory retirement age of judges from 70 to 75 won't hurt anything.If Ohio is going to continue making the mistake of electing its judges, the candidates should at least come from the broadest age range available.Vote "yes.""[4]


According to the state campaign finance database, there are no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated November 2011)


The following is information obtained from the opposing side of the ballot measure:

  • The Ohio Democratic Party has claimed opposition to Issue 1, stating: "State Issue 1 extends the age limit for judges from 70 to 75 years of age. This extension would increase the length of service for individuals already entrenched on the bench. Moreover, State Issue 1 is likely to perpetuate a 6-to-1 Republican imbalance on the Ohio Supreme Court and similar imbalances on lower courts. A “No” vote on Issue 1 will promote a fairer judicial system.”[5]
State judiciary on the ballot in 2011
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According to the state campaign finance database, there are no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated November 2011)

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Ohio ballot measures, 2011


  • The Toledo Blade stated: "Sometimes politicians do the right thing, even if it may be for the wrong reasons. That is the case with Issue 1 on next month’s statewide ballot, which would amend the state constitution to raise the retirement age for Ohio judges from 70 to 75. It deserves a YES vote."[6]
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer published an editorial stating: "Ohio should work to improve the quality of judges, beginning with requiring that lawyers practice law longer before running for the bench. Issue 1 will give good judges more time in office -- a step in the right direction."[7]
  • The Akron Beacon Journal wrote: "The amendment would add five years, barring a judge from taking office if he or she is older than 75 on or before the day of election or appointment. We recommend a “yes” vote on Issue 1 on Nov. 8."[8]


  • The Athens News endorsed a 'no' vote: "We urge a no vote on state Issue 1, the amendment to the Ohio Constitution that among other things would extend the maximum age that a person may be appointed or elected as judge from 70 to 75. Extending the current age limit would mean that a person elected to a judgeship at the age of 74, for example, would be 80 by the time his or her six-year term expired."[9]

Path to the ballot

The Ohio State Legislature can propose amendments, according to Article XVI, if 60% of the members of both chambers agree to it.

House vote

The Ohio House of Representatives voted on April 12, 2011 to approve the measure with a vote of 70-26, sending it to the Ohio State Senate for approval.[10]

Senate vote

On June 28, 2011, the Ohio State Senate voted unanimously, 32 to 0, in favor of the measure. The chamber also altered the proposal by changing the maximum age for a state judge to 76. It had originally been 75. After voting 69 to 27, the Ohio House of Representatives approved the change to the measure, sending it to the ballot for voters to decide.[11]



The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Introduced January 11, 2011 The bill was introduced to the legislature
House vote April 12, 2011 House voted 70-26 in favor of the proposed measure
Amendments June 28, 2011 The House approved amendments to the legislation (69-27)
Senate vote June 28, 2011 Senate voted 32-0 in favor of the proposed measure

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading