Should We Apply the Logan's Run Principle, Updated for Inflated Life Expectancies Of Course, to Congress and the Courts?


Denver Post columnist and Reason contributor David Harsanyi goes ageist on the only native criminal class in these United States:

Thirty years after Ted Kennedy griped about Ronald Reagan's advanced age, the man serves as a 76-year-old, nine-term senator recovering from brain-tumor surgery. Really, is there no one else available in the state of Massachusetts who can drop his Rs and vote dependably Maoist?

An average adult would not trust Sen. Robert Byrd (who is 91) to pet-sit their mutt for fear that the unfortunate creature might accidentally turn up in chili con carne. Yet, Byrd sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, where he doles out massive amounts of taxpayer funds for West Virginia landmarks with "Byrd" in the title. Fortunately, this session Byrd has lost his chairmanship to make way for a young whippersnapper in Hawaii's Daniel Inouye, who is 84.

And, sure, there has been some progress in the Senate with the ousting of Alaskan criminal Ted Stevens (85). The youth movement continued in the House with the ejection of 82-year-old John Dingell from his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to make way for Henry Waxman, who comes in at a stylish 69.

Then, says Harsanyi, there's the Supreme Court:

Then there are Supreme Court justices, who in many ways hold power beyond that of legislators. Certainly the position entails a far higher level of intellectual rigor. The average age in that institution is 69. Five justices are over 70 and another two are over 60. Justice John Paul Stevens is 88.

In 2004, six in 10 Americans believed that there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices—probably because, like myself, they often can't get their childrens' names straight, much less remember what the Third Amendment says. (Though, in the end, we all stand united against the quartering of soldiers.)

The author of Nanny State concludes:

Theoretically, it would be nice to allow citizens to vote for anyone they please, young or old. But since we already have a minimum, constitutionally mandated age limit to serve in place, why not a maximum age? How about at least placing it wherever the average life expectancy falls?

Because, right now, Washington looks more like Del Boca Vista than America.

Whole thing here. I don't agree with mandatory retirement ages, but it is fun to make fun of jerk-off old senators.

Reason on definitively senile and decrepit Supreme Court Judges here.

Reason interviews Harsanyi here.