United States Magistrates in the Federal Courts: Subordinate Judges

By Christopher E. Smith | Go to book overview

because incumbents did not have to be replaced in order to increase representativeness within the magistrate system. Women and minority group members could be appointed to newly created positions without waiting for the original magistrates to retire or resign.


SELECTION AND MAGISTRATES' ROLES

The selection process provides the initial influence upon the development of magistrates' precise roles. Because of their control over the appointment process and influence over merit selection panels, district judges can integrate their conception of the magistrates' appropriate roles into their decisions on appointments. The subordinate judicial officers' roles are not finalized, however, by the selection of specific lawyers for the magistrate positions. Magistrates' roles within individual districts develop and evolve because of a variety of factors. Although district judges are the most influential actors in the role definition process due to their statutory authority and practical power within the courthouses, as subsequent chapters will discuss, situational factors and other judicial actors also affect the expectations and task assignments which define the magistrates' roles within the federal courts.


NOTES
1.
U.S. Congress, House Report No. 1364, Magistrates Act of 1978, 95th Cong., 2d Sess., 1978, 11.
2.
Joseph F. Spaniol Jr., "The Federal Magistrate Act: History and Development," Arizona State Law Journal ( 1974): 568-569.
3.
Peter G. McCabe, "The Federal Magistrate Act of 1979," Harvard Journal on Legislation 16 ( 1979): 395.
4.
Elliot Slotnick, "Lowering the Bench or Raising It Higher?: Affirmative Action and Judicial Selection During the Carter Administration," Yale Law and Policy Review 1 ( 1983): 280.
5.
U.S. Congress, House Report No. 1364, 17.
6.
U.S. Congress, Senate Report No. 74, Federal Magistrate Act of 1979, U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News 1979, 1478.
7.
28 U.S.C. section 631(b)(5).
8.
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, The Selection and Appointment of United States Magistrates, Feb. 1981, 44.
9.
Richard Watson and Rondal Downing, The Politics of the Bench and Bar: Judicial Selection Under the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan, ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1969).
10.
Administrative Office, The Selection and Appointment, 44-45.

-56-

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