Arbitration has become an important and highly effective adjudicatory mechanism for resolving civil disputes in the American legal system. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, arbitration reaches standard consumer transactions and employment disputes in the same manner as it applies to conflicts about the sale of goods between merchants. It addresses controversies arising under national regulatory law—from antitrust and securities claims to civil liberty guarantees. Subject-matter inarbitrability and public law limits on private adjudication do not play a significant role in the contemporary U.S. law of arbitration. Under the latter, civil disputes are nearly universally arbitrable.
At this stage in the development of the U.S. law of arbitration, it is clear that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) serves primarily as a stepping stone for the Court to elaborate a federal judicial doctrine on arbitration.