In this podcast, Professor of Law Edward K. Cheng talks about his recent The Myth of the Generalist Judge, 61 Stanford Law Review 519. In the article, Professor Cheng addresses the question of whether judges really practice the generalist ideal empirically after having tested the question by examining opinion assignments in the federal courts of appeals from 1995-2005. The survey results revealed that opinion specialization is a regular part of circuit court practice, and that a significant number of judges do in fact specialize in specific subject areas. Professor Cheng also assesses the desirability of opinion specialization and sees it as more than a mere loophole in court operating procedures. In his view, opinion specialization is an important feature of judicial practice that could increase judicial expertise without incurring some of the negative costs commonly associated with specialized courts.
Prof. Cheng is an authority on scientific, expert, and statistical evidence and has written extensively in those areas. For more of his scholarship, see his Selected Works page.