Green Tree Financial Corp. v. Bazzle, 539 U.S. 444, 14 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 444 (2003)

Rehnquist, C. J., dissenting

ment to arbitrate as is the choice of what is to be submitted to him.

Thus, this case is controlled by First Options, and not by our more recent decision in Howsam v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 537 U. S. 79 (2002). There, the agreement provided that any dispute "shall be determined by arbitration before any self-regulatory organization or exchange of which Dean Witter is a member." Id., at 81 (internal quotation marks omitted). Howsam chose the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), and agreed to that organization's "Uniform Submission Agreement" which provided that the arbitration would be governed by NASD's "Code of Arbitration Procedure." Id., at 82. That code, in turn, contained a limitation. This Court held that it was for the arbitrator to interpret that limitation provision:

" ' "[P]rocedural" questions which grow out of the dispute and bear on its final disposition' are presumptively not for the judge, but for an arbitrator, to decide. John Wiley [& Sons, Inc. v. Livingston, 376 U. S. 543, 557 (1964)] (holding that an arbitrator should decide whether the first two steps of a grievance procedure were completed, where these steps are prerequisites to arbitration). So, too, the presumption is that the arbitrator should decide 'allegation[s] of waiver, delay, or a like defense to arbitrability.' " Id., at 84.

I think that the parties' agreement as to how the arbitrator should be selected is much more akin to the agreement as to what shall be arbitrated, a question for the courts under First Options, than it is to "allegations of waiver, delay, or like defenses to arbitrability," which are questions for the arbitrator under Howsam.

"States may regulate contracts, including arbitration clauses, under general contract law principles," Allied-Bruce Terminix Cos. v. Dobson, 513 U. S. 265, 281 (1995). "[T]he interpretation of private contracts is ordinarily a question of


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