Should Age Discrimination be Permitted in Choosing a President?

Some bloggers and other opinion writers have suggested that a candidate’s age should be a factor in choosing our next President. Some have even advocated that the Constitution of the United States of America be amended to place an upper age limit of 60 for candidates seeking election to the presidency. I think these people are dead wrong. Age discrimination should never, in my opinion, bar someone from a job, even a job as important as the President of the United States. Each candidate for president, and each job seeker generally, should be judged individually on his or her merits, i.e., intellect, character, and leadership ability. Otherwise, aren’t we turning the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination on its head?

Granted, there are exceptions carved out of the anti-discrimination statutes for certain jobs which have specified age range as a bona fide occupational qualification. But the presidency is not a job which fits into these categories. As long as a candidate is qualified to run for office, his or her age should not be a factor.

I have too many clients over the age of 55 who come to me after being terminated and cannot find replacement employment. The companies that refuse to hire my clients or do business with them are violating the law if age is a factor in their decisions. What kind of message would it send to corporate America if we bar otherwise qualified candidates from running for president simply because of their age?