January 10, 2017 / 4:55 PM / 7 months ago

U.S. top court grapples with credit card surcharge law dispute

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WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struggled over how to decide a challenge to a New York state law barring retailers from imposing surcharges on customers who make purchases with a credit card instead of cash.

The eight justices seemed divided over whether the state's law is a form of speech regulation and, even if it is, whether it is an unlawful restriction. Merchants have argued that New York's law and similar ones in other states violate retailers' rights to free speech and due process under the U.S. Constitution.

The court heard a one-hour argument in an appeal filed by a group of merchants to a 2015 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the law. Nine other states have similar laws. The court also has two other cases pending involving similar challenges to related laws in Florida and Texas that are awaiting resolution of the New York dispute. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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