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Ohio voters should reject State Issue I

October 30, 2011
Salem News

Ohio voters should reject State Issue I in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Issue 1 raises the mandatory retirement age for judge to 75 years old when a term begins. Currently, judges must be less than 70 years old when a term begins.

Supporters point out that judges are the only elected officials who are aged out of their jobs. But other elected offices are for two- and four-year terms while judges serve for six years. Thus, removing an incompetent judge is more difficult.

In addition to the longer term, judges tend to hold their seats for life. Many attorneys do not want to challenge a judge in front of whom they may eventually try cases if they lose the election. It would be quite uneasy, after all, for a lawyer to campaign on the basis that the judge is losing his mental and physical fitness to serve.

Also, consider how many judges are retired/re-elected. As opponents of retire/rehire and retire/re-elect, we oppose Issue I because the double dippers would have five more years to double dip.

Many law firms have mandatory retirement ages because of the physical and mental demands placed on the job. Trial judges face equal demands. The retirement age should remain untouched.


Voters in the Nov. 8 General Election should not dismiss State Issue 3 as meaningless.

Issue 3 is a constitutional amendment that states, "In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system." In other words, Ohioans could not be forced to purchase health care in 2014 as required by President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The proposed amendment's detractors point out that the U.S. Supreme Court eventually will decide on the constitutionality of the federal health care legislation and its ruling will trump how Ohioans vote in November. That is true.

But even a symbolic vote in Ohio could easily have an indirect impact on federal health care legislation. How Ohioans vote could determine whether Congress repeals the measure or a swing judge on the Supreme Court rules against it. Buckeye State voters should not underestimate their power.

Issue 3 opponents also argue that the proposal's broad language (it would prohibit participation in "a health-care system") would have adverse affects on existing laws and procedures. That argument is nullified by common sense.

More specifically, they claim "a health-care system" would include government agencies tracking an infectious disease, law enforcement departments that crack down on prescription-drug pill mills and schools that provide developmental disabilities services.

Making such wild leaps defies common sense and is a desperate attempt at cluttering a simple issue. We don't agree on governing through constitutional amendments and referendums, but this one is on the ballot, voters should take it seriously and they should vote yes on Issue 3.



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