Federal Arbitration Act

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The Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 overcame courts' refusals to enforce agreements to arbitrate, the origins of which were in the English common law when courts fought for extension of their own jurisdiction. American courts had followed English practice.

The Federal Arbitration Act was thought to represent an exercise of Congress' Article III power to "ordain and establish" federal courts, U.S. Const., Art. III, § 1. See Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465 U.S. 1, 28, n. 16, 79 L. Ed. 2d 1, 104 S. Ct. 852 (1984) (O'CONNOR, J., dissenting) (collecting cases). Only in 1967 did the U.S. Supreme Court hold that the Act "is based upon and confined to the incontestable federal foundations of 'control over interstate commerce and over admiralty.'" Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 395, 405, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1270, 87 S. Ct. 1801 (1967) (quoting H. R. Rep. No. 96, 68th Cong., 1st Sess., 1 (1924)).