The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an arbitration agreement prevents merchants from bringing class action claims against American Express.
In a 5-3 vote, the court ruled that American Express' arbitration agreement did not preclude merchants from effectively vindicating their rights.
The case stemmed from a 2003 class action suit filed by restaurants, retailers and other merchants that alleged American Express violated antitrust law by forcing them to accept its credit cards as a condition of accepting its charge cards.
Charge cards require holders to pay the outstanding balance in full at the end of a billing cycle; credit cards require payment of only a portion, with the balance subject to interest.
The opinion was written by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by the other four conservatives. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissent for the three liberals who heard the case, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused,