Bill to save Hawaii Chief Justice Moon founders

Chris Rizo Apr. 18, 2008, 7:48am

Ronald Moon

HONOLULU (Legal Newsline)-A proposal in the Hawaii Legislature that would have extended the mandatory retirement age for judges to 80-years-old, allowing Chief state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon to remain on the bench, has apparently stalled.

As drafted originally, the constitutional amendment would have prevented Gov. Linda Lingle from replacing Moon, who reaches mandatory retirement age in 2010.

But a compromise hammered out in the Democrat-led Legislature later amended the proposal to apply only to judges installed after the law takes effect.

Since Friday marks the deadline for state lawmakers to advance proposed constitutional amendments, Senate Bill 3202 cannot move forward unless legislative leaders agree to waive Senate and House rules.

Short of other legislative action, Moon is set to be replaced in two years by Lingle, a Republican.

Proponents say the constitutional amendment, which would change the mandatory retirement age from 70 to 80, was aimed at allowing the state to retain experienced judges.

The bill was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Taniguchi, D-Moiliili-Manoa.

For his part, state Attorney General Mark Bennett, who supported the measure, told legislators he wanted a task force to study alternatives to a mandatory retirement age for members of the state bench.

Hawaii voters in 2006 rejected a constitutional amendment that would have repealed the mandatory retirement age for members of the state judiciary.

The vote against the constitutional amendment was 58 percent to 35 percent.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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