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Judicial Specialization, Litigant Influence, and Substantive Policy: The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

Lawrence Baum
Law & Society Review
Vol. 11, No. 5 (Summer, 1977), pp. 823-850
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053331
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053331
Page Count: 28
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Judicial Specialization, Litigant Influence, and Substantive Policy: The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
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Abstract

Several courts of limited jurisdiction currently exist in the federal judicial system, and new specialized courts have been proposed. Opponents of some specialized courts have pointed to the potential policy implications of judicial specialization, and their arguments merit attention. In this article the effects of specialization on the influence of litigant groups over judicial decisions and on the substance of judicial policy are analyzed in general terms. These effects are then examined in greater depth through a case study of the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals. The findings are complex, but they indicate that specialization may have a significant impact on judicial behavior. This impact should be taken into account in decisions whether to create courts of limited jurisdiction.

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