This time of year, the Supremes typically draw out the suspense about the most ideologically charged cases of the term. This year is no different. Another decision day has come and gone, and the justices did not pronounce upon gay marriage, affirmative action, or the Voting Rights Act. Check back next week, when the justices have scheduled another decision day on Monday.
It’s not that the high court did nothing today. It issued rulings in three cases, including one of interest to many businesses. In that decision, the justices bolstered the strength of arbitration clauses and made it more difficult for someone who wants to organize a class action against a business to get out of such a restriction.
The ruling favored American Express (AXP) in an antitrust clash with retailers over the credit cards they must accept. On a 5 to 3 vote, the court sided with American Express, which sought to hold merchants to agreements they signed to pursue any disputes individually and before an arbitrator. A lower court had refused to enforce the arbitration clause, saying it wouldn’t be feasible for the merchants to press their claims individually.
Arbitration clauses fail to get your pulse pounding? Sorry. See you Monday morning.