California is violating the civil rights of its judges who served in the armed forces, according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J.D. Smith, who sued the state this week in U.S. District Court.

Smith, 63, said in a phone interview Tuesday that judges are uniquely discriminated against because — “unlike the governor, the members of the Legislature, the attorney general, or any other state employee you can name” — they cannot apply for time-served credits toward retirement based on prior military service. Smith is a Korean War veteran who served in the Army for two years, although he stresses he wants to see the earlier retirement dates available to those who have served in all branches of military service.

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