Gregory v. Ashcroft
Judges Challenge Mandatory Retirement, Both Claims Overturned Again, Petitioners Assert Portions Of Act Not Applicable
Ellis Gregory, Jr., Anthony P. Nugent, Jr.
John D. Ashcroft, Governor of Missouri
The Missouri Constitution's mandatory retirement provision required retirement of state judges over age 70. Petitioners claimed it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it irrationally distinguished between old and younger judges, and between state judges and other state officials not subject to the mandatory retirement provision.
Chief Lawyer for Petitioners
Jim J. Shoemaker
Chief Lawyer for Respondent
James B. Deutsch
Justices for the Court
Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White
Harry A. Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall
Date of Decision
20 June 1991
The Missouri mandatory retirement provision did not violate the ADEA because its language did not explicitly protect state judges. Neither was the Equal Protection Clause violated because the Court ruled the ADEA rationally furthered the state interest of providing fully functioning judiciaries.
Missouri's Constitution was challenged as being in violation of federal statute and the U.S. Constitution; however, the Supreme Court rejected petitioners' arguments. The Court held that a state's constitutional provision concerning such an important issue as the right to define the qualifications of a state's highest officials could not be overridden if it did not explicitly oppose federal statutes.
- Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307 (1976).
- Penhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 451 U.S. 1 (1981).
- EEOC v. Wyoming, 460 U.S. 226 (1983).
- Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984).
- Atascadero State Hospital v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234 (1985).
- Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 191 U.S. 58 (1989).
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- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Judges Challenge Mandatory Retirement
- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Further Readings
- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Both Claims Overturned Again
- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Petitioners Assert Portions Of Act Not Applicable
- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Four Justices Differ In Opinions
- Gregory v. Ashcroft - Impact
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