In 1609, Lord Coke held agreements to arbitrate revocable at will at any time prior to the issuance of an award.' For three-hundred years following Lord Coke's decision, a similar mindset pervaded the judicial psyche of both England and the United States, requiring legislative action to overcome the dilemma.' Even after the enactment of the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA" or "Act"), passed by Congress to combat judicial hostility to arbitration, courts continued to jealously guard their jurisdiction from non-traditional dispute resolution forums.4 Under Section 2 of the FAA, courts must enforce agreements to arbitrate contained in contracts which evidence a transaction "involving commerce."' Although Congress has broad authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate interstate activity, courts refused to apply the FAA to the full extent of Congress' commerce powers.6 The United States Supreme Court responded to the inconsistency by holding state courts bound by the FAA,7 but ambiguity remained regarding which contracts actually satisfied Section 2's "involving commerce" test. Lower federal courts and state courts have applied different standards to determine this issue, yielding inconsistent results.
Isham R. Jones III,
Federal Arbitration Act and Section 2's Involving Commerce Requirement: The Final Step towards Complete Federal Preemption over State Law and Policy - Allied-Bruce Terminix v. Dobson, The,
1995 J. Disp. Resol.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol1995/iss2/5