Supreme Court to Decide Whether Arbitrators May Decide Whether the Arbitration Clause from Which Their Authority Flows in a Case Is Unconscionable

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal in Rent-A-Car, West, Inc. v. Jackson.

The question before the Court will be whether the district court is in all cases required to determine claims that an arbitration agreement subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is unconscionable, even when the parties to the contract have clearly and unmistakably assigned this “gateway” issue to the arbitrator for decision.

The pendulum in the U.S. Congress has certainly been swinging away from enforcement of mandatory forced arbitration provisions in the employment context.  It will be interesting to see what the Court does with this threshold issue.

You can find the opinion of the 9th Circuit being appealed from here.