U.S. Supreme Court leans against restrictions on labeling transactions

The U.S. Supreme Court returned a case to lower court concerning a News York ban on merchants imposing surcharges on credit-card purchases. The court advised that the law regulates speech so should be analyzed accordingly. (Bloomberg News, March 29, 2017, by Greg Stohr)

Law professor Eugene Volokh, The Washington Post, March 29, 2017, gave this analysis of the Court’s decision: “Businesses are generally free to charge lower prices for cash transactions than for credit card transactions; but some states bar businesses from labeling this as ‘$10, with a 30-cent surcharge for credit cards,’ though businesses are free to say ‘$10.30, with a 30-cent discount for cash.’” Volokh continued, “The government doesn’t implicate the First Amendment just by restricting the prices people can charge; if federal law required equal pricing for cash and credit, that would be constitutional. But once a transaction is legal, restrictions on how a seller describes the transaction are speech restrictions….”