In an almost unprecedented for these days 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held on March 31 in Badgerow v. Walters that federal courts must determine federal subject matter jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act from the face of the FAA petition itself.
Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that Sections 9 and 10 of the FAA do not permit federal courts to apply the look-through approach to federal jurisdiction.
At first blush, Badgerow seems to address a fairly narrow, rarely invoked basis for federal jurisdiction, but its import extends far beyond its holding. First, it may provide insight into how Justice Amy Coney Barrett will tackle the FAA. Second, it may indicate how the court as a whole will approach the other significant arbitration-related decisions before it. And third, it will shift more arbitration jurisprudence to state courts.