In an age of long-term unemployment, crippled investments, and actuarial uncertainty, many Americans have discovered that they no longer get to choose their own retirement date. But the justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will have none of that.
The state's constitution requires judges to retire at the age of 70. But being at the mercy of larger forces may be, in the justices' estimation, for the little people. It certainly looks that way based on the hoary high court's fast-tracking of two challenges to the constitutional retirement mandate.
The court recently took the rare step of reaching down from its lofty perch to bypass a lower court and schedule the cases for prompt hearing next month. And it's easy to guess why the Supremes might feel this matter requires quick but delicate handling. Chief Justice Ronald Castille is 69 and running for retention this year, which would give him another 10-year term on the court - if not for the pesky mandatory retirement clause. And three of his fellow justices will also become septuagenarians within the next five years.