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U.S. Magistrate Judge

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington seeks applicants to fill a vacant Magistrate Judge position. The Magistrate Judge duty station will be Tacoma, Washington. The position is available starting March 18, 2023.


Magistrate Judges in the Western District of Washington are authorized to perform the full range of duties under the applicable statute. In particular, the Court encourages civil litigants to consent to the jurisdiction of magistrate judges. In addition to their work on civil cases for which they have obtained consent of the parties, magistrate judges may handle pretrial case management and motions on cases assigned to district judges. In criminal cases, the magistrate judges exercise complete jurisdiction over petty offense and misdemeanor cases and may handle preliminary proceedings in felony cases. Duties of the magistrate judge include the following:


  1. Conduct most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases including initial appearances, detention, and preliminary hearings, and change of plea hearings.
  2. Issue search and seizure warrants.
  3. Conduct trials and sentencing hearings in misdemeanor cases.
  4. Preside over civil matters upon referral from a United States District Judge, including prisoner civil rights cases, federal habeas corpus petitions, a high volume of Social Security appeals, and other civil matters such as discovery disputes.
  5. Conduct settlement conferences.
  6. Preside over civil cases upon consent of the parties, including jury trial and entry of final judgment.

The basic authority of a United States Magistrate Judge is specified in 28 U.S.C. §636.


To be qualified for appointment an applicant must:


  1. Be, and have been for at least five years, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years (with some substitutes authorized);
  2. Be competent to perform all the duties of the office; be of good moral character; be emotionally stable and mature; be committed to equal justice under the law; be in good health; be patient and courteous; and be capable of deliberation and decisiveness;
  3. Be less than seventy years old; and
  4. Not be related to a judge of the district court.

A merit selection panel composed of attorneys and other members of the Western District community will review all applications and confidentially recommend to the District Judges, candidate(s) the panel considers best qualified for the position. The Court will make the appointment following an FBI full-field investigation and an IRS tax check of the applicant selected by the Court. An affirmative effort will be made to give due consideration to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, age (40 and over), religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, parenthood, creed, ancestry, national origin, genetic information, disability, or service in the uniformed forces. The current annual salary of the position is $205,528 and is set at the rate of 92% of the salary of a district court judge. The term of office is eight years, subject to reappointment for continuing eight-year terms thereafter. The judicial retirement system provides for vesting of a partial annuity after eight years, and, after fourteen years of serves, a magistrate judge is entitled to an annuity equal to the salary of the office, payable at age 65. The other benefits of federal employment apply.


The individual selected for this position must comply with the financial disclosure requirements pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-521, 92 Stat. 1824 (1978) (codified at 5 U.S.C. app. §§ 101-111) as implemented by the Judicial Conference of the United States.


Application forms and more information on the Magistrate Judge position in this court may be obtained from the District Court Executive/Clerk of Court via the Court’s website at Applications must be signed personally by applicants and received by the Court on or before September 15, 2022.


All applications will be kept confidential, except for the committee’s contact with people listed as references. All applications will be examined only by District Court Executive/the Clerk of Court, members of the merit selection panel, and the judges of the District Court. The panel’s deliberations will remain confidential.


Applications from previous announcements will not be considered. A new application must be submitted to be considered for this vacancy. Applicants are also requested to complete this voluntary demographic surveyas part of the application process. The data from the survey helps us assess and improve the diversity of magistrate judges. The information provided in the survey will not be shared with the merit selection panel. Applicants should send their application materials, including a cover letter, the job application form, and a writing sample to:


Ravi Subramanian

District Court Executive/Clerk of Court

United States District Court

Western District of Washington

700 Stewart Street, Room 2310

Seattle, WA 98101

Attention – Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel

Or via e-mail to:

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