Credit-card companies charge a transaction fee, and merchants often pass that cost onto consumers by raising prices across the board. Some merchants, however, would like to charge more only to credit customers. Ten states prohibit merchants from charging such "swipe fees," and the states argue that this is classic economic regulation. The merchants counter that the states permit them to offer a cash discount equivalent in value to a credit surcharge, and therefore claim that the swipe-fee bans merely prohibit truthful speech, in violation of the First Amendment. The Second and Fifth Circuits have sided with the states, but the Eleventh Circuit struck down Florida's law on First Amendment grounds. The Supreme Court heard argument on Tuesday, January 10 in the case from New York, Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman.
Mr. Jesse Panuccio, a partner and appellate lawyer at Foley & Lardner LLP, joined us to discuss the argument and the case. He is counsel of record on an amicus brief filed in support of the merchants' position and on behalf of a group of state-based, free-market think tanks.
- Mr. Jesse Panuccio, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP