New Hampshire Bar Association
About the Bar
For Members
For the Public
Legal Links
Publications
Newsroom
Online Store
Vendor Directory
NH Bar Foundation
Judicial Branch
NHMCLE

Keep your contact information up-to-date.

Order with big business buying power.
New Hampshire Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service Law Related Education NHBA CLE NHBA Insurance Agency
MyNHBar
Member Login
Member Portal
Casemaker

Bar News - September 17, 2014


Morning Mail: Judges Should Stay in Office, But It Will Never Happen

There is no doubt in my mind New Hampshire judges should be able to hold office after they reach 70 years of age, but this will never happen. I say this as a retired attorney and long serving member of the legislature.

Only three states provide for the appointment of judges: New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The balance provide for the election or retention of judges by the voters.

Article 78, part two, of our Constitution provides that judges and sheriffs can not hold office after attaining the age of 70 years. This article was incorporated in 1792, eight years after the Constitution took effect in 1784.

In the 18th century few citizens reached the age of 70 years and the health of those who did was probably poor. Judges and sheriffs were required to ride the circuit, an arduous physical endeavor considering the primitive roads between county courts. Then there was the task of listening, retention and note taking; all quite taxing at the period. As a result the amendment seemed reasonable at that time – but not so in the 21st century.

Now here is my “but.” Knowing our legislature, I know it would be impossible to obtain the 60 percent vote from both chambers in order to place the article on the ballot. Then, considering the attitude of the voters to the courts, it is unlikely a two-thirds vote would be achieved.

I complement the editors for offering this form of service to members. Allowing practicing attorneys to send legislative thoughts to the paper would certainly be helpful to the attorney members of the legislature.

Representative Robert H. Rowe
Responding to August’s “Question of the Month”

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

Home | About the Bar | For Members | For the Public | Legal Links | Publications | Online Store
Lawyer Referral Service | Law-Related Education | NHBA•CLE | NHBA Insurance Agency | NHMCLE
Search | Calendar

New Hampshire Bar Association
2 Pillsbury Street, Suite 300, Concord NH 03301
phone: (603) 224-6942 fax: (603) 224-2910
email: NHBAinfo@nhbar.org
© NH Bar Association Disclaimer