Abstract

The future of commercial arbitration has become a centerpiece of the domestic congressional agenda. According to one estimate, ten different bills introduced in the 110th Congress would chip away at the enforceability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements. By far the most significant bill, the Arbitration Fairness Act, would retroactively invalidate arbitration agreements in all employment, consumer, securities and franchise contracts. An especially vague provision in a prior version of the bill would invalidate agreements involving claims under statutes intended to protect civil rights or designed to regulate transactions between parties of unequal bargaining power. Are these wise moves?