The clouded case law of Section l's employment contract exception presents an opportunity to improve the fairness and function of the Arbitration Act, an opportunity the bench has failed to grasp for nearly a half-century. Part II of this article reviews the case law surrounding the judicial construction of what constitutes a "class of workers engaged in interstate commerce," with courts generally holding that the employment contract exception affects only workers directly involved in interstate movement of objects. This view fails to further the overall goals of the Act and undermines the judicial goal of fairness. Recently, the Supreme Court perpetuated the poor judicial performance interpreting Section 1 by giving the term "contract of employment" an unduly narrow construction. Part III briefly reviews the major approaches to statutory interpretation and then demonstrates the persuasiveness, according to virtually each approach, of a construction of Section 1 that defines a broader group of workers "engaged in commerce" and a more realistic notion of what constitutes a "contract of employment." Part IV discusses the advantages of this interpretation over the currently prevailing view. In short, Section 1 has been and continues to be poorly interpreted. This shortcoming I attribute to the judiciary's lack of statutory vision in failing to grasp opportunities for more pragmatic construction that furthers both the objectives of the Arbitration Act and the overall goals of the legal system
Jeffrey W. Stempel,
Reconsidering the Employment Contract Exclusion in Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act: Correcting the Judiciary's Failure of Statutory Vision,
1991 J. Disp. Resol.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol1991/iss2/2