The Parliament appears destined to pass the new Supreme Court Law which will set the retirement age of Justices at 70 years of age. It is expected that the bill will be passed into law in the next Plenary Session on 17 December 2008. The raising of the retirement age was particularly controversial earlier in the process as many saw it as a not too covert attempt by the then Chief Justice to maintain his stranglehold on the leadership of the Court. Personally, I always thought it was making a mountain out of a mole hill, but that is just me.
The beauty of the debate though was that it got people talking about the Court and regeneration and particularly the appointment of new blood to the Court as a means of reinvigorating it not just in terms of the human resources present but also in terms of the Court's intellectual vigor.
Past is prologue and as such Bagir Manan is history. He is retired. The intrigue now is who will become the next Chief Justice of the Court. The Justices get to make this decision amongst themselves, at least, in so far as they choose from among their own.
It seems that the most likely candidates are all around the 67 age and as such any appointment might last a mere three years before the Court is once again looking for a new Chief.