Hawaii Mandatory Retirement Age for Justices and Judges, Amendment 3 (2014)

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Amendment 3
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Hawaii Constitution
Referred by:Hawaii Legislature
Topic:State judiciary
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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November 4
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Local measures

The Hawaii Mandatory Retirement Age for Justices and Judges, Amendment 3 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Hawaii as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would increase the mandatory age of retirement for judges and justices from 70 to 80.[1]

The amendment was sponsored in the Hawaii Legislature by State Senator Clayton Hee (D-23) as Senate Bill 886.[1]

In Hawaii, an amendment must win not just a majority of all votes cast on that particular proposal, but a majority of the vote of everyone voting in that election. This is known as a double majority.

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The text that will appear on the ballot is as follows:[1]

Shall the mandatory retirement age for all state court justices and judges be increased from seventy to eighty years of age?[2]

Constitutional changes

See also: Article VI, Hawaii Constitution

The measure amends the third subsection of Section 3 of Article VI of the Hawaii Constitution:[1]

Appointment of Justices and Judges

Section 3. ...

Tenure; Retirement
The term of office of justices and judges of the supreme court, intermediate appellate court and circuit courts shall be ten years. Judges of district courts shall hold office for the periods as provided by law. At least six months prior to the expiration of a justice's or judge's term of office, every justice and judge shall petition the judicial selection commission to be retained in office or shall inform the commission of an intention to retire. If the judicial selection commission determines that the justice or judge should be retained in office, the commission shall renew the term of office of the justice or judge for the period provided by this section or by law.

Justices and judges shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy eighty years. They shall be included in any retirement law of the State.[2]


Support

The measure was introduced into the legislature by State Senator Clayton Hee (D-23).[1]

Supporters

Officials

Organizations

  • League of Women Voters of Hawaii[5]
  • ILWU — International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142

Arguments

  • Gov. Abercrombie said, "As a matter of fact, [judicial retirement age is] a dead end. It deprives us of the opportunity to take full advantage of those who have had a career that has given them some depth of perception, of analysis and capacity that actually deprives us of legal minds and administrative capacity that would be most welcome on the Supreme Court.”[3]
  • Attorney General David M. Louie stated, “People now live longer, healthier, and more productive lives and are contributing to their community and their jobs well past the age of seventy. In the local legal community, some of the finest minds and best attorneys are older than seventy.”[4]
  • Jean Aoki of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii stated, “With the average life span of human beings increasing, the mandatory retirement age of 70 years has deprived our state of the continued services of many leaders who were really at their peak, capable of many more years in their respective positions.”[5]

Opposition

State Representative Denny Coffman (D-5) was the sole legislator to vote against SB 886.[1]

Opponents

Arguments

The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu issued a statement against SB 886. The department wrote:

While the Department of the Prosecuting Attomey of the City and County of Honolulu supports judges and justices who are knowledgeable of the law and respectful to attomeys, staff, and witnesses pursuant to the Hawaii Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, the department notes that the mandatory retirement ofjudges andjustices who reach the age of 70 provides opportunity for judicial nominees who have a fresh approach in analyzing the laws and a strong commitment to treating all participants in the court in a professional manner. Moreover, the mandatory retirement of age 70 for justices andjudges is sometimes our only opportunity for change.

[2]

—Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu, [6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Hawaii Constitution

State Senator Clayton Hee (D-23) introduced a bill, known as Senate Bill 886, into the legislature to alter the constitution and put a measure before voters on January 18, 2013. The bill was approved through a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers. SB 886 was approved by the Hawaii Senate on February 14, 2013. The amendment was approved by the Hawaii House of Representatives on April 4, 2013.[7]

Senate vote

February 14, 2013 Senate vote

Hawaii SB 886 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 22 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

April 4, 2013 House vote

Hawaii SB 886 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 50 98.04%
No11.96%

Related measures

Louisiana will also be voting on a ballot measure related to judicial retirement ages in November 2014:

See also

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