In 1995, Saint Clair Adams (plaintiff) worked as a salesman for Circuit City Stores, Inc. (Circuit City) (defendant) in California. Two years later, Adams sued Circuit City for employment discrimination in California state court. Adams’s employment contract with Circuit City contained an arbitration clause. Circuit City filed suit in district court, seeking to enjoin Adams’s state suit. Additionally, Circuit City sought to compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1–2. Section 2 of the FAA required the enforcement of arbitration clauses of any contract involving commerce. Section 1 of the FAA exempted the employment contracts of seamen, railroad employees, or other workers engaged in commerce. The district court found that Adams was subject to his contract’s arbitration clause, and so he could not pursue his claims in state court. The court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a split among the circuits.