U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2008 Term

Oral Argument Date

October 06, 2008


Questions Presented

1. Whether a suit seeking to enforce a state-law arbitration obligation brought under Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 4, “aris[es] under” federal law, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, when the petition to compel itself raises no federal question but the dispute sought to be arbitrated—a dispute that the federal court is not asked to and cannot reach— involves federal law.

2. If so, whether a “completely preempted” state-law counterclaim in an underlying state-court dispute can supply subject matter jurisdiction.

Case Updates

Supreme Court holds Federal Courts do not possess jurisdiction over counterclaims arising under the Federal Arbitration Act

March 09, 2009

The Supreme Court held that federal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear a counterclaim that would qualify for federal review under the Federal Arbitration Act, if a federal court would not have jurisdiction to hear the original claim. However, the Court agreed with NCLC that a federal court may look to the underlying nature of the original dispute to decide whether federal courts would have jurisdiction under the FAA.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

August 08, 2008

NCLC argued that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides a federal court with jurisdiction over arbitration disputes where the underlying controversy involves federal law. In its brief, NCLC argued that although the FAA was enacted to counter hostility to arbitration, many state courts – particularly California, Montana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - continue to be openly hostile to arbitration. NCLC argued that in light of the purpose of the FAA to overcome judicial resistance to arbitration, Section 4 of the FAA should be construed to permit federal courts to exercise jurisdiction over a petition to compel arbitration by looking to the nature of the underlying dispute to be arbitrated.

Case Documents