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Our Curious Amalgam

The Role of a Magistrate Judge

Anora Yangjun Wang and Melissa H. Maxman

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The U.S. federal district courts have magistrate judges who are appointed to assist the district court judges and generally oversee first appearances of criminal defendants, set bail, and conduct other administrative duties. But is the role of a magistrate judge different across districts? In a district like Eastern District of Virginia where the trial docket is so fast that it earned the nickname as a “Rocket Docket,” a magistrate judge can make important decisions and have a great impact on the cases there. Judge Lindsey Vaala, the first magistrate judge interviewed by our program, and a long-time active member of the ABA Antitrust Law Section, speaks with Anora Wang and Melissa Maxman on her previous career as an antitrust litigator, her path to the bench, and to the extent that she can speak, her views on current antitrust issues.