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Monday, February 17, 2014

Arbitration as an Article of Constitutional Faith

Michigan State Law Professor Jim Chen's book review of Georgia Law Professor Peter(Bo) Rutledge’s book, Arbitration and the Constitution (Cambridge, 2012).


Scarcely any legal question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, through arbitration. If Alexis de Tocqueville could survey contemporary American legal culture, he would rub his eyes with amazement at the privatization of adjudication across a wide swath of issues previously committed to judicial resolution. From trade disputes posing serious questions of economic diplomacy to consumer contracts adhering to cell phones and credit cards, mandatory arbitration has displaced conventional adjudication. In the country that de Tocqueville characterized as driven by its dedication to constitutional lawmaking through litigation, arbitration has become a dominant form of dispute resolution with little if any direct doctrinal influence by federal constitutional law. This is the overriding theme of Peter B. Rutledge’s book, Arbitration and the Constitution (Cambridge, 2012).

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