Cite as: 538 U. S. 580 (2003)
Opinion of the Court
consent so shown can count as conferring "civil jurisdiction" under § 636(c)(1), or whether adherence to the letter of § 636(c)(2) is an absolute demand.
So far as it concerns full-time magistrate judges,4 the font of a magistrate judge's authority, § 636(c)(1), speaks only of "the consent of the parties," without qualification as to form, and § 636(c)(3) similarly provides that "[t]he consent of the parties allows" a full-time magistrate judge to enter a final, appealable judgment of the district court. These unadorned references to "consent of the parties" contrast with the language in § 636(c)(1) covering referral to certain part-time magistrate judges, which requires not only that the parties consent, but that they do so by "specific written request." Cf. also 18 U. S. C. § 3401(b) (allowing magistrate judges to preside over misdemeanor trials only if the defendant "expressly consents . . . in writing or orally on the record"). A distinction is thus being made between consent simple, and consent expressed in a "specific written request." And although the specific referral procedures in 28 U. S. C. § 636(c)(2) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73(b) are by no means just advisory, the text and structure of the section as a whole suggest that a defect in the referral to a full-time magistrate judge under § 636(c)(2) does not eliminate that magistrate judge's "civil jurisdiction" under § 636(c)(1) so long as the parties have in fact voluntarily consented. See King v. Ionization Int'l, Inc., 825 F. 2d 1180, 1185 (CA7 1987) (noting that the Act "does not require a specific form . . . of consent").5
written or oral declaration, or record entry, or it may be implied from some act done with the intention of appearing and submitting to the court's jurisdiction' " (quoting 4 Am. Jur. 2d, Appearance § 1, p. 620 (1995))).
4 The parties do not dispute that the Magistrate Judge who presided over the trial was a full-time Magistrate Judge.
5 The textual evidence cited by the dissent is far from conclusive. The dissent focuses on the fact that § 636(c)(1) allows a magistrate judge to exercise authority only "[u]pon" the parties' consent, and it concludes that this temporal connotation forecloses accepting implied consent. But the
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