The Federal Magistrate Judges Association is a national organization that educates the public and other judges about federal magistrate judges. It publishes the Federal Courts Law Review. The Federal Courts Law Review (FCLR) is an electronic law review dedicated to legal scholarship relating to federal courts. Articles are from scholars, judges and distinguished practitioners As of 2009, over 500 full-time and 40 part-time magistrate judgeships are authorized. Three additional positions that combine the role of magistrate judge with the role of clerk of court are also authorized.
In the Federal Magistrates Act of 1979 (93 Stat. 643), the U.S. Congress expanded the authority of the magistrate judges by:
• Granting consent jurisdiction to magistrate judges. This authorizes them to conduct civil trials as long as the parties to the trial consent.
• Magistrate judges were also allowed to preside over misdemeanor trials as long as the defendant in the case waives his or her right to a trial before a district judge.
• Providing for merit selection panels to assist district judges in the appointment of magistrate judges.
Federal Magistrate Judges Association Website