WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are protected from state regulation.
The high court ruled in a 4-4 ruling that ride sharing services like ride-HUB and ride-share.com are not “intermediaries” that could pose a threat to the public interest.
Uber and ride sharing are subject to the same regulatory burdens as other taxis and limousines.
The justices left in place the ruling from the lower courts that Uber and others like it are not an intermediary that could harm the public.
The ruling was a victory for Uber and other ride sharing companies, who have been fighting to remain exempt from New York City’s ride-hare laws since they began operating in 2015.
Uber was granted an exemption from those laws in April, but a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on the services.
That ruling led to a court battle that dragged on for months.
The state sued Uber and several of its executives, saying they were profiting from their business model and are not intermediaries that could hurt the public’s interest.
The lawsuit said Uber and its drivers are “partners in the enterprise” of transporting people around the city and were not “operating as an agency of government.”
The justices ruled 5-4 in favor of Uber and five of its companies.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan said she had concerns about the company’s business model.
“I think we have a right to know whether this company is an intermediary in the marketplace, whether it is an enabler in the market, whether this is something that we should be concerned about,” Kagan wrote.
The court also allowed Uber and six of its employees, including founder Travis Kalanick, to appeal the ruling to the full Supreme Court.
Uber’s attorney, John Burris, said the ruling should not have been appealed and that the companies have every right to appeal.
Uber and Lyft have been battling for years in New York state’s courts over how to regulate the ride-hopping companies.
Uber has challenged the state law banning its services, arguing that it violates its owners’ First Amendment rights.
Uber argued that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the public from the dangers of unregulated ride-booking.
Kalanick and other Uber executives have said they have done nothing wrong.
They argue that the company is simply serving as a taxi service, and that they should not be subject to state laws.