04.27.11

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Supreme Court Decision In AT&T v. Concepcion

In AT&T v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, held that class action bans, if part of an arbitration clause, are enforceable and any state law that says otherwise is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

“The opinion of five Supreme Court Justices in AT&T v. Concepcion will further weaken protections for consumers.  The divided court decided that state laws which would protect consumers’ rights to band together are preempted by Federal law.  This is the latest in a series of cases where five conservative justices have hampered the rights of consumers to be protected by state laws.  Class actions are an effective way to ensure consumer protection, but today’s opinion by the Roberts Court continued to move in a direction that undermines this access to justice for hardworking Americans.  Now more than ever, Congress needs to respond with legislation to clarify the original intent of the Federal Arbitration Act.  In arbitration, there is no transparency, nor is there an independent arbitrator.  I have chaired several hearings on this issue.  The American people deserve justice, and arbitration systematically fails to provide that justice for most Americans.”

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