Ageism is alive and well in Michigan as well as it is everywhere else. Genesee Circuit Family Judge Michael J. Theile is trying to change this!

Genesee Circuit Family Judge Michael J. Theile filed a lawsuit to overturn the current age limit for judges in Michigan. It was filed with the U.S. District Court in Flint against the state, the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections, and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Currently, the law holds that a judge cannot run for office once they reach 70. Judge Theile is 68 years old, and by the next election cycle in 2020, he will be 71.


Genesee Circuit Family Judge Michael J. Theile. Photo courtesy of file photo by Jane Hale.

According to MLive,

Theile says the law is “perversely illogical,” because federal judges are lifetime appointments and Michigan judges disqualified by age could then be appointed to the federal court for the rest of their lives.”

Judge Theile does have a point. Especially since the age restriction was added to the Michigan Constitution in 1963, and was based on a law from 1908. Straight talk, people live longer nowadays. Life expectancy was 66.6 years for men and 73.4 years for women in 1963. In 1908 it was 49.5 for men and 52.8 for women. According to the CDC, the average life expectancy is now 78.8 years (averaged between men and women). So it’s clear that the law is at least old-fashioned, if not outright ageist.


Genesee Circuit Family Judge Michael J. Theile. Photo courtesy of 7th Circuit Court.

The Judge

Judge Theile has worked a long and fruitful career. He was appointed in 2005 by then-governor Jennifer Granholm as a circuit judge of the 7th Judicial Circuit, with special assignment to the Family Court and a problem solving (specialty) court – Parents and Children Together. He specializes in family and custody matters with an emphasis on noncustodial parenting. The Parents and Children Together Program is one that aims to both help struggling noncustodial parents and hold them responsible. Goals of the program are to make sure they are both being involved in the child’s life and keeping regular child support payments. He hopes to keep this career going into his seventies.

What do you guys think about the law? Is it best to set age limits to keep politicians modern? Or is the current law ageist? Let us know in the comments below!

Hemingway: a renaissance for this Michigan resident.