Legislation would end age limit for Michigan judges

Oct 21, 2019

A resolution in the state house proposes changes to the state constitution to remove limits on the age of Michigan judges.

Under current law a person cannot be over the age of 70 when elected or appointed to a judicial office. 

Republican State Representative Tommy Brann sponsored the measure. He said he’s nearly seventy and it isn’t that old. 

“To me it’s a little bit of a discrimination,” he said. ““I just don’t know why age would be apart of this as far as judges decision making. I’m just addressing it. I hate to lose good judges who are serving the public and the people in a good way.”

Brann added he still sometimes busses tables at his restaurant. 

“I’m 68 and I’ll be bussing tables this weekend so I’m still doing the same thing,” he said. “If I still love to do it and I’m good at it, why would we want to lose lose good capable judges?”

The resolution would have to go to the ballot before the change to the state constitution could be made. 

Similar legislation was introduced in 2017 but failed to pass. 

At that time arguments against removing the age restriction included that because incumbent judges were difficult to unseat the change would amount to “permanent tenure.”

A spokesperson with the State Court Administrative Office said while they don’t have a position on the bill it is true that “we lose many judges performing at a high level” due to the restriction. 

The rule has been part of the state constitution since 1955.