Arbitrator as Judge . . . And Judge of Jurisdiction
In October Term 2009, the Supreme Court decided a series of important cases involving arbitration. Two of those most important decisions were Rent-A-Center, Inc. v. Jackson and Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int'l Corp. At first glance, these two cases appear to have remarkably little in common. Rent-A-Center concerns the power of the arbitrator to resolve challenges to his jurisdiction. Stolt-Nielsen concerns the tribunal's ability to order classwide arbitration wherethe agreement is silent on the matter. Indeed though both decisions were decided in the same term by the same majority of justices, Rent-A-Center (the later-issued option) does not even cite Stolt-Nielsen.
Peter B. Rutledge, Contract and Kompetenz, 3 217 (2011).