Matthew Didora's opinion piece on Oct. 18, "Don't force our judges to retire at 70," was very interesting but in some respects misleading. For example, he includes Learned Hand as a Supreme Court justice who worked past 70. However, as great a judge as he was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he never served on the U.S. Supreme Court, and in his later years, he sat as a senior judge, which enabled him to limit the number of cases he heard.
The situation is not that bad for New York Supreme Court judges, who today can get extensions to serve up until they are 76.
The comparison between state judges and lifetime federal judges is somewhat unfair. Federal judges can take senior status and choose the number and types of cases they wish to hear, while receiving full pay even if they choose to hear no cases.
There is an alternative to extending the age limit to 80. That would be to increase the number of judicial hearing officers, who are former judges wishing to continue service. Age is, so far as I know, no restriction on such service.
Editor's note: The writer is a lawyer.