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House Judiciary moves to block arbitration, make BP liability retroactive

Big day Wednesday at the House Judiciary Committee, which has a business meeting scheduled for 10:15 a.m. to mark up:

H.R. 5503, the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability Act
Motion to authorize issuance of subpoenas to BP America for documents regarding its claims process relating to the Gulf oil spill
H.Res. 1455, Directing the Attorney General to transmit to the House of Representatives copies of certain communications relating to certain recommendations regarding administration appointments
H.R. 5281 the "Removal Clarification Act of 2010"; and
H.R.____, the "Prohibiting Interstate Commerce in Crush Videos Act of 2010"
H.R. 1020
, the "Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009"; and
H.R. 1237, the "Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009"

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) outlined the far-reaching H.R. 5503 in a news release when it was introduced on June 10, "Conyers and Melancon Introduce SPILL Act."

H.Res. 1455 is a privileged resolution demanding documents related to the White House offers of Administration jobs to Democrats to keep them out of Senate races in Pennsylvania and Utah Colorado. (Statement by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the Republican sponsor.)

Consideration of the two anti-arbitration bills follows the Supreme Court's decision Monday in Rent-a-Center v. Jackson that reinforced the enforceability of arbitration clauses. (Opinion, Scotusblog entry.) The American Association for Justice, which has campaigned against arbitration, issued a statement from AAJ President Anthony Tarricone after the court's ruling Monday, "AAJ Response to Jackson v. Rent-a-Center SCOTUS Decision.

As for crush videos, the Supreme Court in April struck down the law banning the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty. (Washington Post story.) We'll see how the drafters attempt to negotiate the court's ruling. Judging by one bill, H.R. 5092, it looks like they may just ignore the First Amendment and pass a law anyway .

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.