SCOTUS declines to hear Florida drug testing appeal, Scott fights on
The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal to hear arguments about Florida’s controversial drug-testing policy, which lower courts have declared unconstitutional. In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott signed executive orders that required mandatory drug testing for all state employees, and those receiving welfare benefits. Since the orders were given, state and federal judges have ruled both orders unconstitutional for reasons of privacy and violating the 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Despite Florida courts and lower-level federal courts declaring the law unconstitutional, Gov. Scott has continued to file appeals to higher courts, a process that has cost Florida taxpayers upwards of $380,000 for the various lawsuits, according to the Florida American Civil Liberties Union. That figure does not include lawyers’ fees. “Every court that has heard Gov. Scott’s argument that the state has the power to compel people to submit their bodily fluids for government inspection without suspicion of wrongdoing has rejected it as a violation of the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches,” said Florida ACLU Staff Attorney Shalini Goel Agarwal. “It’s become a costly and embarrassing boondoggle for Floridians.” Since the Supreme Court has declined to hear Scott’s appeal, the decision made by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be upheld. That court ruled that state employees should not be required to submit to urine testing unless they are suspected of drug use, except in job situations that may affect public safety. Scott has also appealed an Orlando federal judge’s decision that welfare recipients will not be forced to undergo mandatory drug tests. Scott argues that this type of drug testing would save the state money. However, in the few months after he signed the executive order before the courts intervened, the overwhelming majority of welfare recipients tested negative for drugs, and so the bulk of the costs of testing fell to the taxpayers with little saved in benefits. photo credit: Mark Fischer via photopin cc]]>
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