United States Magistrate Judges are not protected by Article III. They are solely creatures of statute. Moreover, in some districts they are treated very poorly.* Having been a Magistrate and then a Magistrate Judge (same thing, different title–that’s a story itself), I read with interest Scott Greenfield’s piece this morning, entitled, The Revolt of the Mags Lives!
In the post, SHG talks about the substantive question–whether to limit a search warrant for data on the “cloud” to a definite period of time. I am more interested in the “revolt” of the Magistrate Judges. Let me put it this way: Magistrate Judges are supposed to be judges, and I am very glad that SHG highlights those who take the title seriously.
The fact is the federal district courts would fall apart without magistrates who act like judges. “You go” guys and girls!
*At least since 1987 when I became a magistrate, the District of Nebraska has a proud tradition of treating Magistrate Judges with a high degree of respect. For example, our MJs participate fully in court governance. A Magistrate Judge’s vote is counted just like a vote of an Article III judge. And, most importantly, each MJ has their own toilet!