First Options of Chicago, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 10 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 938 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

sive, for factual circumstances vary too greatly to permit a confident conclusion about whether allowing the arbitrator to make an initial (but independently reviewable) arbitrability determination would, in general, slow down the dispute resolution process. And, the third point is legally erroneous, for there is no strong arbitration-related policy favoring First Options in respect to its particular argument here. After all, the basic objective in this area is not to resolve disputes in the quickest manner possible, no matter what the parties' wishes, Dean Witter Reynolds, supra, at 219-220, but to ensure that commercial arbitration agreements, like other contracts, " 'are enforced according to their terms,' " Mastrobuono, ante, at 54 (quoting Volt Information Sciences, 489 U. S., at 479), and according to the intentions of the parties, Mitsubishi Motors, 473 U. S., at 626. See Allied-Bruce, 513 U. S., at 271. That policy favors the Kaplans, not First Options.

We conclude that, because the Kaplans did not clearly agree to submit the question of arbitrability to arbitration, the Court of Appeals was correct in finding that the arbitrability of the Kaplan/First Options dispute was subject to independent review by the courts.


We turn next to the standard a court of appeals should apply when reviewing a district court decision that refuses to vacate, see 9 U. S. C. 10 (1988 ed., Supp. V), or confirms, see 9, an arbitration award. Although the Third Circuit sometimes used the words "de novo" to describe this standard, its opinion makes clear that it simply believes (as do all Circuits but one) that there is no special standard governing its review of a district court's decision in these circumstances. Rather, review of, for example, a district court decision confirming an arbitration award on the ground that the parties agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration should proceed like review of any other district court decision find-


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