50th Anniversary of the Federal Magistrates Act of 1968

Message from President Maria Z. Vathis Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Magistrates Act of 1968

On October 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Federal Magistrates Act. The two principal goals of the Act were to replace the outdated commissioner system with judicial officers and to provide relief to district judges in handling their caseloads. Over the past half century, the jurisdiction, duties and responsibilities of these judicial officers has significantly expanded, and their official title was changed to that of United States Magistrate Judge.

Today, the Federal Bar Association recognizes the important contributions of federal Magistrate Judges to our legal system. The FBA commends the dedication, loyalty, and hard work of our nation’s Magistrate Judges, as well as those who preceded them. The FBA is dedicated to educating the bar, public, and media about the important work of Magistrate Judges. The FBA-sponsored A Guide to the Federal Magistrate Judge System is a white paper prepared in 2014 by Peter G. McCabe which offers a thorough overview of the evolution and role of this important legal authority. The FBA also published a special issue of The Federal Lawyer magazine in 2014 dedicated to the work of Magistrate Judges.


Judiciary Celebrates Magistrate Judges’ 50 Years of Vital Contributions