CITY HALL (CBS) — Two former Supreme Court justices and a Philadelphia lawyer are continuing their fight to get a question on next week’s election ballot declared in-valid. Voters and lawmakers are concerned that the question leaves out information that they believe voters need to make an informed choice.
The question asks voters to decide whether state Supreme Court judges should have to retire at age 75. It fails to tell voters that, currently, judges have to retire at 70.
“The question makes it sound as if the amendment would impose a mandatory retirement age for the first time when really it would raise the current retirement age by five years,” said Brooke Spigler Cohen, the lawyer for the group that wants the question struck, as misleading.
After the state Supreme Court deadlocked on their request, twice, they’ve asked Federal Court to intervene.
A poll by Franklin and Marshall shows the question passes when asked, as is, but fails when phrased as an increase in the retirement age.
“You end up with a result that does not reflect the true will of the people,” she said.
That was born out in an unscientific survey of Philadelphia voters near City Hall.
To see if it made a difference, KYW’s Pat Loeb asked them the question as it will be on the ballot, and then, whether the retirement age should be raised to 75. Some, like Cindy, changed their answer. She said yes to the ballot question. But raising the age?
“No, 75 is a little bit old,” she said.
So, for Cindy, it really made a difference the way the question was phrased.
“It really does. It definitely makes a difference. Definitely,” she said.
Absentee ballots have been sent out with the question on it, but those results could simply be discarded. That’s what happened in the spring, the question was on the primary ballot as, “should the mandatory retirement age be raised to 75,” and Republican legislators protested, saying that was “confusing.”
They then had the question put on the November ballot without a reference to the current retirement age.
If the question passes, two Republican judges who would have had to retire in the next two years, would get an additional five years on the court.