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Revelation And Reaction: The Struggle To Shape American Arbitration

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Chapter Summary

Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court implicate important conclusions about the respective domains of courts of law and arbitration tribunals regarding so-called "gateway" determinations surrounding the enforcement of arbitration agreements and the contracts of which they are a part. The current spate of Supreme Court decisions must be understood in the context of the quarter century of case law interpreting and expanding the umbrella of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and the associated penumbra of "substantive federal law". The Supreme Court's arbitration jurisprudence under the FAA is an extended exercise in shoring up the bulwarks of private, binding dispute resolution in furtherance of the presumed intent of contracting parties. The Court's seeming inflexibility is a significant contributor to momentum building in Congress for legislation to dramatically restrict the use of predispute arbitration agreements in consumer, employment and franchise agreements.

Keywords: arbitration agreements; Federal Arbitration Act (FAA); federal law; Supreme Court decisions; U.S. Supreme Court



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