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Jul 23, 2014 8:40 PM by Kari Beal

Voters to decide if state judges can continue to serve after age of 70

Just like another chapter in a book, 15th district Judge Herman Clause saw his 70th birthday as another chapter in life. He served 30 years on the bench and hoped to continue.

"At my age, I personally feel more comfortable in my ability to analyze situations, even though there are some abilities I don't have. I can't run a mile or bend certain ways," Clause said.

Clause, along with at least two other judges in Acadiana, announced they will retire this year. Under current state law, judges over the age of 70 can't seek re-election. But a bill introduced this legislative session by Louisiana Senator Eric LaFleur could change that. The bill proposes to amend the law and go away with a mandatory retirement age. The amendment will go before voters on November 4.

"Turning 70 doesn't mean you are not capable of doing and performing all kinds of work," Sen. LaFleur said.

Lafleur gave the example of the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Half of the justices are over the age of 70. LaFleur explained if the public thinks a judge is not capable because of age, they have the option to not re-elect the individual.

"The voters will decide whether you can serve or not," LaFleur said.

Clause said candidates for re-election must qualify by August. He explained there are some loopholes if he wanted to run for re-election, assuming the new law was approved by voters Nov. 4, but he said this would be too complicated.

Looking back, he said this is one of the greatest opportunities in life he received and he just hopes future judges have the choice to run well into their elderly years, if they choose to do so.

"It exceeded my wildest dreams as far as how wonderful of a profession it has been and I love it," Clause said.

 

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