April 27, 2010
Choice Quotations from the Rent-A-Center Arguments
Two quotations from the recent argument in Rent-A-Center West v. Jackson just call out for memorialization on this blog. Mind you, ripped from their contexts, these quotations might seem more significant than they really are, but still. . . .
Justice Breyer: I'm not interested in arbitration law. I am interested in contract law, and I want to know why as a general matter of contract law an allegation of unconscionability, defense of unconscionability is . . . not . . . like the coercion defense or the inducement defense or the "I was in Alaska" defense? Isn't it enough like that that they should be treated alike?
Justice Scalia: No, I don't care what we said in dictum. It doesn't seem to me that unconscionability is the same as duress or the same as fraud . . . that you can be a stupid person who voluntarily signs an unconscionable contact. Now, the courts may protect you because you are stupid, but you haven't been coerced. Is there no distinction between unconscionability and coercion?
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Am I wrong in believing that the SCOTUS arguments display deep confusion about basic unconscionability law, especially as it has evolved over the past decade? As I read the arguments, the Justices themselves seemed confused and they were not being much helped by the advocates.
Posted by: Bruce W Frier | Apr 28, 2010 8:33:30 AM