Politics & Policy

Supreme Court Dawdles on Gay Marriage, Affirmative Action


Visitors wait outside the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 20, 2013, in anticipation of key decisions being announced

Photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Visitors wait outside the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 20, 2013, in anticipation of key decisions being announced

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.

 

Barrett_190
Barrett is an assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. His new book, Law of the Jungle, which tells the story of the Chevron oil pollution case in Ecuador, will be published by Crown in September 2014.

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