If James F. Wootton has his way, next year the nation may have as many as 120 new subject-matter-specific federal courts. The courts would operate only for a three-year period, with the much-feared year-2000 bug as their sole focus.

Mr. Wootton is the executive director of the Institute for Legal Reform of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is concerned that civil courts could be overwhelmed with Y2K-specific cases in the next few years, crowding out the rest of the civil docket. The Y2K problem stems from the fact that many computers read the year 2000 as 1900.

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