Most Americans think that judges should be, and are, generalists who decide a wide array of cases. Nonetheless, we now have specialized courts in many key policy areas. Specializing the Courts provides the first comprehensive analysis of this growing trend toward specialization in the federal and state court systems.
Lawrence Baum incisively explores the scope, causes, and consequences of judicial specialization in four areas that include most specialized courts: foreign policy and national security, criminal law, economic issues involving the government, and economic issues in the private sector. Baum examines the process by which court systems in the United States have become increasingly specialized and the motives that have led to the growth of specialization. He also considers the effects of judicial specialization on the work of the courts by demonstrating that under certain conditions, specialization can and does have fundamental effects on the policies that courts make. For this reason, the movement toward greater specialization constitutes a major change in the judiciary.