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When should judges retire?

We have at least three ideas about when judges should retire already in this year’s legislative hopper.

Del. Terry W. Kilgore, R-Gate City, proposes 73 in House Bill 126, as does Sen. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, in Senate Bill 206, apparently at the request of the Virginia Judicial Council, which suggested that age in its judicial wish list.

House Bill 241 from Del. Bill Janis, R-Henrico, would allow judges to remain on the bench until their term expires after their 70th birthday, which would create the possibility of an 81-year-old Supreme Court justice, and a 77-year-old circuit judge.

Sen. Richard H. Stuart, R-Westmoreland, has the most unusual approach in Senate Bill 44. General district judges could serve until 76, but the other judges in the state still would have to retire at 70. Stuart, who is only 45 himself, said he considers 76 to be young but gives GDC judges a later retirement because their decisions are subject to renew de novo if they start losing it.

Stuart said he probably will back off his proposal and join what he sees as a consensus for raising the age to 73.

By Alan Cooper

Alan Cooper

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