antitrust

State-action immunity provides states and, in some instances, local governments immunity from federal antitrust liability. In Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District v. SolarCity the Supreme Court will decide whether a lower court’s refusal to rule state-action immunity applies to a particular entity may be appealed immediately or only after the case is fully litigated.

In this Ohio v. American Express Ohio has asked the Supreme Court to offer guidance on its “rule of reason” test under antitrust law. The “quick-look” version of this test requires the government to show anticompetitive harms and the defendant to show procompetitive benefits. The party proving greater harms or benefits wins. This case is relevant to states because 11, including Ohio, have sued American Express claiming one of its contract provisions with merchants accepting American Express credit cards violates the Sherman Act (antitrust law).  

American Express charges merchants who accept its credit card higher fees than its competitors. American Express’s standard contract non-discriminatory provision (NDP) requires merchants to not say or imply that they prefer any payment method over American Express.