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Judges wrestled with free speech issues in a case challenging a Florida law that bars merchants from adding surcharges to credit card payments but permits them to discount cash payments.

A lawyer for four Florida merchants alleged that the law unconstitutionally regulates how merchants communicate with their customers. A lawyer for the state countered that the statute regulates only conduct that included “incidental” communication.

A district court judge last year said the statute is clearly worded and should not be subject to First Amendment scrutiny. But on Thursday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, judges asked tough questions of the lawyer for Florida, Osvaldo Vazquez, the deputy solicitor general at the Florida Office of the Attorney General.

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