RELEASE: Lacking Grounding in Statutory Text, Conservative Majority Crafts Special Rules for Companies Seeking Arbitration
WASHINGTON, DC – Following the Supreme Court’s announcement of its decision this morning in Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, which makes it more difficult for consumers who have been injured by a company to have their day in court, Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) Appellate Counsel Smita Ghosh issued the following reaction:
In today’s decision, the Supreme Court vindicated Coinbase’s effort to frustrate consumers’ efforts to hold it accountable in court. Specifically, the majority agreed with Coinbase that, in cases where a company unsuccessfully seeks to force consumers to arbitrate, a district court must pause the litigation while the court of appeals reviews the denial of the effort to force arbitration. The Court acknowledged that Coinbase’s argument had no basis in the text of federal arbitration statutes, but nonetheless ruled for Coinbase based on “background principles.”
As Justice Jackson explained in her dissent, the Court’s requirement of a mandatory pause “comes out of nowhere” and is “untethered” from the text of federal arbitration statutes. As Jackson demonstrated, the majority “invents a new stay rule perpetually favoring one class of litigants—defendants seeking arbitration.” Jackson’s textualist argument, which echoed the one advanced in CAC’s amicus brief, appealed to justices across the ideological spectrum. Justice Thomas joined most of Jackson’s dissent, including the part that criticized the majority’s willingness to elevate its own “background principle” over the statutory text. The tendency to ignore a statute’s text and to focus instead on the justices’ policy preferences is an all-too-common feature of today’s Supreme Court majority. As Justice Jackson cautioned at the end of her dissent, such insertion of policy preferences is “unfounded, unwise, and—most fundamentally—not our role.”
Case page in Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski & Coinbase, Inc. v. Suski: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/coinbase-inc-v-bielski-coinbase-inc-v-suski/
Constitutional Accountability Center is a nonpartisan think tank and public interest law firm dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text, history, and values. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.