STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
Proposal to nix mandatory retirement for judges who turn 70 is rejected
A proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed state judges to remain on the bench after age 70 appeared to be the only measure that didn't survive the polls.
Among the four constitutional amendments that voters did approve included a measure that would dilute Gov. Linda Lingle's ability to appoint regents at the University of Hawaii, according to early results last night.
Both proposals were seen as partisan power plays by the Legislature to strip Lingle of her authority.
Had the measure passed, mandatory retirement for judges would have been repealed, enabling judges to remain on the bench for life, subject to reappointment.
Five judges currently serving on the bench, including Chief Judge James Burns and Chief Justice Ronald Moon, will be among those forced to retire in the next few years before their 10-year terms expire.
Opponents of the repeal included Lingle, the board of directors of the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Judicial Selection Commission, former Gov. Ben Cayetano and all four county prosecutors.
The remaining amendments that were on their way to passing would create a salary commission that would review and recommend salaries for judges, lawmakers, the governor and lieutenant governor, and state department heads; give the Legislature authority to define continuing sexual assault and jury unanimity required for conviction, and authorize the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds to assist farmers.