Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Commercial restrictions on freedom of speech?

HotAir found a gem.  Many states have laws which restrict merchants ability to talk fianane wityh their customers:

I’m always interested in free speech cases when they make their way through the court system, but this one is particularly unique. In a small town in upstate New York a beauty salon ran into a problem a couple of years ago. They listed their prices up front based on the cash price for services, providing a note saying that there would be an extra fee applied if the customer paid by credit card. They were advised by an attorney to take the sign down or change the wording because they were in violation of the law. That may sound fairly crazy, but it turns out the lawyer was correct and they wound up going to court, claiming that their right of free speech was being impinged. (Route Fifty)
The owners of Expressions Hair Design in Vestal, along with other New York businesses that have sued the state over the law, say their freedom of speech is being impinged on because they can’t explain to customers how credit card fees affect their bottom line.
Their case, Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, is slated to come before the U.S. Supreme Court early next year. A decision in the case also is likely to be felt in nine states with similar laws (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Texas). And, given the reach of big retailers and the growth of online sales, it could influence how merchants in other states do business, too.
“All these laws are really doing is regulating speech in a way that favors credit card companies because it masks the costs of credit to consumers,” said Deepak Gupta, the consumer rights lawyer representing Expressions, where his mother gets her hair done. Under the laws, he said, “you can say the glass is half full, but you can’t say it’s half empty.”

How does trading pit work this problem? It simply reports that transaction costs are unmeasurably zero, the cost of an active trading pit is likely tens of dollars per year per billions of transactions. There arte no humans involved, except the person to person delivery of a real goodie.

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