Why Federal Magistrate Judges Can Improve Judicial Capacity

88 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1009 (2019)

29 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2019 Last revised: 18 May 2020

Date Written: October 10, 2019


Judicial confirmations are often the subject of political debate. Recently, much of the discussion has focused on the Trump administration and Republican senators’ success in nominating and confirming federal judges. Irrespective of this success, however, consistently growing caseloads over the years continue to overburden many federal district courts, leading to unnecessary cost and delay. This essay surveys the current judicial capacity crisis in many district courts and Congress’ struggles to resolve it. It then turns to short-term solutions that courts have used to alleviate their expanding burdens and highlights the federal courts’ most successful short-term solution: the federal magistrate judge system. This essay then introduces the origins and modern structure of the federal magistrate judge system and argues that, until Congress is able to pass substantive judgeship legislation, an ambitious expansion of this program would best serve struggling district courts.

Keywords: judicial confirmations, congress, federal courts, magistrate judges

Suggested Citation

Marcum, Anthony, Why Federal Magistrate Judges Can Improve Judicial Capacity (October 10, 2019). 88 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1009 (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3467625 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3467625

Anthony Marcum (Contact Author)

R Street Institute ( email )

1212 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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