WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has struck down the federal government’s ban on seat belts in automobiles, upholding the Obama administration’s position that the law violated the Second Amendment and other rights.
The court said Monday that the federal ban on a seat belt that was on the books since 1993 is unconstitutional and violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority, said the court does not accept that the prohibition violates the Second or Fourteenth Amendments because the law’s purpose is to prevent injury to persons who are not wearing seat belts.
“It would be a mistake to conclude that the ban is narrowly tailored to serve an interest unrelated to preventing injury,” Kagan wrote.
Kagan also rejected the argument that the Supreme’s holding was rooted in the plaintiffs’ personal belief that wearing a seatbelt would help them survive a crash.
A federal appeals court in Massachusetts, the 9th U..
S., rejected the plaintiffs argument in 2015.
In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that a state law barring the use of seat belts violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While the court has not set a specific time frame for when the ban would be enforced, Kagan said the law should be enforced immediately because the Supreme “is now satisfied that it violates the Constitution.”
In her opinion, Kacynne McBride, a federal appeals judge for the 9 of the 9 federal circuits, said it is not clear whether the ban violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The court did not say whether it would rule on whether the law was constitutional.
The court also reversed the lower court’s decision and ordered the Justice Department to appeal the decision.