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Age discrimination lawsuits filed by judges moved to federal court

| Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Two civil lawsuits in which eight county judges are contesting a mandate that forces them to retire at age 70 have been moved to federal court.

Westmoreland County Judge John Driscoll is one of six plaintiffs in one of the suits, while Fayette County President Judge Gerald R. Solomon is one of two plaintiffs in the other. The two lawsuits, filed in Commonwealth Court in November, name Gov. Tom Corbett as one of four defendants.

Driscoll and Solomon must retire at the end of the year because of a state mandate that forces judges into retirement when they reach age 70. They and the other judges contend the mandatory retirement provision, which went into effect in 1969, is age discrimination that violates their constitutional rights.

On Wednesday, Corbett and one of the other defendants, state secretary Carol T. Aichele, filed notice removing the two lawsuits from Commonwealth Court to U.S. District Court for the Middle of Pennsylvania.

In a removal petition, Attorney General Linda L. Kelly said the cases should be in federal court because they assert 14th Amendment claims of equal protection and due process.

The other two defendants in the lawsuit are Treasurer Robert McCord and court administrator Zygmont A. Pines.

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