As the April 26 primary draws near, discussion over a ballot question that would raise the mandatory judicial retirement age to 75 is growing in volume. Last week, the bill’s prime sponsor and one of its most vocal opponents squared off in a Chancellor’s Forum hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association that grew combative at times, demonstrating the sharp divide that exists on the issue.

State Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery, said moving the retirement age to 75 from 70, where it has been since a constitutional provision created in 1968, would allow Pennsylvania’s judiciary to develop more wisdom as life and legal experience accumulates. It is a shame, she said, to force judges off the bench right as they are hitting the peak of their legal acumen.

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