Governor Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the President of the United States last month. The federal courts are one area of critical significance to the nation in which the Chief Executive can play a major role in important substantive and procedural policymaking. Moreover, President Clinton, as a former law professor and Arkansas Attorney General, may be particularly interested in issues involving the federal courts.

The Clinton Administration will have to address numerous issues that implicate the federal courts throughout its tenure, but especially during the first year in office. Some of these questions, such as the abolition of diversity jurisdiction, seem to be raised perennially. Other issues, such as budgeting for the federal courts, which assumed great significance for the federal judiciary when Congress appropriated $370 million less than the courts requested last year, must be treated annually. Certain questions, such as federal judicial selection, will demand prompt attention, because President Clinton must expeditiously fill more than one hundred vacant judgeships.

This paper initially provides a general overview of the substance and procedure of civil justice reform. The essay then examines the substantive aspects of the reform, emphasizing products liability and product regulation. The piece next emphasizes numerous procedural features of civil justice reform, because the Clinton Administration probably will have to address more of those dimensions during its initial year in office.

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