Alan Kaplinsky, who leads our Consumer Financial Services Group, has been invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, April 2.

Alan will be joined by other legal and industry thought leaders in offering testimony for the Committee’s “Arbitration in America” hearing.  The hearing, the Committee’s first on the topic since 2013, is expected to be informational in nature and will be live-streamed starting at 10 a.m. EST.  Alan has previously testified on arbitration and class action waivers as an industry witness at three CFPB field hearings.

The Judiciary Committee’s hearing will take place at a time when several bills have been introduced in Congress that would ban the use of mandatory arbitration agreements in consumer contracts.  In November 2017, President Trump signed the joint resolution passed by the House and Senate that disapproved the CFPB’s final arbitration rule under the Congressional Review Act.  It bears noting that the Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 51 to 50, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Committee member John Kennedy having voted against the resolution.

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate.  As a result, there is significant risk that a bill banning the use of mandatory arbitration agreements passed by the Democratic-controlled House could also be passed by the Senate if Senators Graham and Kennedy were to be joined by two or more Republican Senators (or one Republican Senator and Vice-President Pence) in voting for such a bill.  In addition, although President Trump signed the CRA resolution overriding the CFPB’s arbitration rule, there is no certainty that he would veto a new bill banning the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, particularly if the bill has the support of Senator Graham with whom the President reportedly has a close relationship.

The other witnesses scheduled to join Alan at the hearing are:

  • Kevin Ziober, Navy Reservist
  • Professor Myriam Gilles, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
  • F. Paul Bland, Jr., Executive Director, Public Justice
  • Alan Carlson, Italian Colors Restaurant
  • Victor E. Schwartz, Co-Chair, Public Policy Practice Group, Shook, Hardy, & Bacon LLP

Alan’s written testimony is available here.