Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/156

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PENSIONS FOR JUDGES t f "PUBLIC sentiment everywhere supA ports the view that when a judge has discharged the arduous and exacting duties of the bench for a reasonable length of time and reached an age which in the course of nature might be expected to lessen his physical energies, it is due himself and the people that he retire and enjoy the rest and compensation earned by a long service." In expressing the foregoing view, the St. Paul Dispatch has in mind the New York law, which retires every judge on attaining the age limit, and provides a pension after service for a specified term of years. It is probable, we are told, that a similar law will be enacted by Minnesota at the present session of the legislature. Pensions for the Justices of the United States Supreme Court are being urged upon Congress for favorable attention. In England, judges always retire on pensions. Louisiana gives the judges of its Supreme Court pensions after fifteen years of service. The evil of election of judges for short terms, to which Dr. Charles W. Eliot referred in the address which we printed last month, cannot be laid at the door of as many of our states as one might imagine. In Louisiana, judges of the Supreme Court are chosen for terms of ten years, and are usually re-elected. "The consequence has been," says the New Orleans Times-Democrat, "that jus tices have been retained in office as long


as possible, and generally until a physical breakdown or the age limit has been reached." Rhode Island provides pensions for its judges, which are elected by the General Assembly. Chief Justice Dubois, who has lately announced his wish to retire, at the age of sixty-five, will be come entitled to a pension. We do not believe in compulsory retirement of judges at a specified age limit, for one man may be more hearty and vigorous at seventy than another at sixty. An age limit of seventy, in the Supreme Court of the United States, would seriously cripple its efficiency, and one of its ablest and most useful mem bers is two years past that age. Yet an opportunity may well be given the judges of this or any other supreme court to retire voluntarily when they feel that their strength has become im paired. Such a system would not tempt judges who love their work, and readily meet its demands, to leave the bench too soon, while it would provide something approaching a fair reward for the labors of lives which have spent themselves in judicial service and cannot look for other means of livelihood. AN ANECDOTE OF HAMILTON SINCE the publication of the story of Hamilton's cross-examination of Croucher, on page 43 of our January issue, we have been informed that Sena tor Henry Cabot Lodge expressed his conviction that the anecdote is without