Unaccountable Justice?Unaccountable Justice? The Decision Making of Magistrate Judges in the Federal District Courts (with Jacqueline Sievert)
Magistrate judges serving in federal district courts have received only a small amount of attention in political science research, and yet they are delegated vast decision making powers throughout criminal and civil cases. Through the lens of principal-agency theory, this study seeks to help rectify the paucity of work in this area by using original filing and motion level district court data to empirically examine magistrates' decision making. Our results support our expectations that magistrates are often constrained by the preferences of the district judges in and the institutional characteristics of their district while issuing reports and recommendations and serving as assigned judges.