TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a request by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office to take up a dispute about the constitutionality of a Florida law that has barred merchants from imposing surcharges on customers who pay with credit cards.
Last year Bondi’s office asked the Supreme Court to decide the issue after a federal appeals court ruled that the law violated the First Amendment.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law allows businesses to offer discounts to customers who pay with cash but does not allow surcharges for credit-card purchases, a situation the ruling likened to “distinctions in search of a difference.”
The Supreme Court on Monday, as is common, did not explain its reasons for declining to hear the case.
The challenge was filed in 2014 by businesses that had received “cease-and-desist” letters from the state related to alleged violations of the credit-card surcharge law. The businesses were Dana’s Railroad Supply in Spring Hill, TM Jewelry LLC in Key West, Tallahassee Discount Furniture in Tallahassee and Cook’s Sportland in Venice.
The Florida case was similar to a dispute about a New York law that drew a ruling last week from the Supreme Court. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that a New York law about credit-card surcharges involved regulating speech. They sent the case back to an appeals court for further consideration about whether the law violates the First Amendment.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.