Justice Robin Hudson has a big birthday coming up. She’s turning 70 in Feburary.
For most people that would just be marked with an extra big birthday party.
What You Need To Know
Justice Robin Hudson turns 70 in February and isn't running for reelection
North Carolina's mandatory judicial retirement age is 72
U.S. Supreme Court justices have a life tenure
Some lawmakers want to create term limits and expand the number of justices on U.S. Supreme Court
For Hudson, who’s served on the North Carolina Supreme Court for 15 years, it’s also a reality check ahead of next year's elections.
“I would only be able to serve 13 months and try as I might I couldn’t make that make any sense,” said Hudson, a Democrat.
The state has a mandatory judicial retirement age of 72.
North Carolina isn’t unique. States around the country have mandatory judicial retirement ages.
One group that doesn’t is U.S. Supreme Court justices, who have a life tenure.
“That’s designed to insulate the justices from the political process,” said UNC School of Law professor Bill Marshall.
But “political” is the exact criticism the U.S. Supreme Court faces.
The court’s disapproval ratings are the highest in at least two decades, according to Gallup.
President Joe Biden created a commission to study potential changes to the court but it wasn’t tasked with making policy recommendations.
The commission released its final report this week. The White House said there is no timeline for what happens after Biden reviews the report.
“They have done a book report,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y.
Jones introduced legislation earlier this year to expand the court by four seats to bring it back in line with the number of circuit courts. Legislation has also been created to set term limits for U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Jones told Spectrum News on Tuesday that he thinks Biden used the commission as a way to kick the can down the road.
“It’s clear they have not seriously grappled with court expansion or any other serious reforms,” Jones said.
Marshall also said the president is unlikely to push for changes.
“I think that the current administration is relatively conservative in the nonpolitical sense of the word with respect to judicial change,” Marshall said.
As Hudson prepares for her last year on the court, which unlike the U.S. Supreme Court is elected and partisan, she still supports an age limit. But she would like the maximum age to be older.
“I would be in favor of increasing the age limit to 75, 76, 78, 80... 72 is pretty young given the way longevity goes these days,” Hudson said.