Retailers Ask Supreme Court to Rule on Durbin
Aug. 21, 2014
National retail groups are continuing their fight against the Federal Reserve’s interpretation of the Durbin Amendment, officially asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appellate decision leaving the Fed rules on the matter intact. The saga began in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when retailers were able to persuade Congress to include a provision in the main Wall Street reform legislation that, among other things, limited the interchange fees issuers could charge on debit-card transactions. Retailers took exception to the Fed’s rules interpreting that part of the law (introduced by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin) contending it had failed to lower interchange limits enough to capture Congress’ intent. A year ago, a federal judge agreed and overturned the Durbin rules . In March of this year, however, the U.S. court of Appeals reversed the original decision by Judge Richard Leon (though it had some less than flattering things to say about the legislative process from which the rules sprung).
This week, the original plaintiffs, including the National Retail Federation, NACS, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Restaurant Association and others, filed a writ of certiorari asking the high court to hear its appeal of the decision handed down by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Debit swipe fee reform was needed to address the price-fixing of debit swipe fees that the giant card companies engaged in for the nation’s largest banks,” said NACS president and CEO Henry Armour. “Unfortunately, the Fed overrode the language of the law and blunted the positive impact of reform. We need the Supreme Court to decide this case so that American merchants and their customers stop paying billions of dollars more than they should per year to the big banks.”