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Florida Governor institutes unconstitutional drug testing program

At Stop The Drug War:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) Tuesday issued an executive order Tuesday requiring that current state employees submit to random drug tests and that applicants for state jobs undergo pre-hiring drug tests. The order will go into effect in 60 days for current employees and immediately for new hires, but it certain to be challenged in court.

Drug testing, when conducted by the government, is a fourth amendment issue. It is search and seizure of the most private kind, and is thus subject to the “reasonableness” test. And while the Supreme Court has allowed drug testing as reasonable for people in safety-critical jobs and students in extra-curricular activities (!), it still has never allowed a blanket random test of all government employees. (Private sector companies can require that all employees be drug tested because they’re not the government for the purpose of the fourth amendment.)

The ACLU of Florida attacked Scott’s order, saying that a federal court had in 2004 already ruled that the state was violating the Fourth Amendment when the Department of Juvenile Justice instituted a random drug testing program. In that case, a US district judge ordered the agency to halt random drug testing and pay the worker who sued $150,000.

“I’m not sure why Gov. Scott does not know that the policy he recreated by executive order today has already been declared unconstitutional,” ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said in a statement. “The state of Florida cannot force people to surrender their constitutional rights in order to work for the state. Absent any evidence of illegal drug use, or assigned a safety-sensitive job, people have a right to be left alone.”

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14 comments to Florida Governor institutes unconstitutional drug testing program

  • strayan

    How could the poor Governor be expected to know that treating every employee like a suspected criminal and demanding they submit a sample of their biological matter for analysis might be unconstitutional?

    I mean really.

  • Drug testing, when conducted by the government, is a fourth amendment issue. It is search and seizure of the most private kind, and is thus subject to the “reasonableness” test. And while the Supreme Court has allowed drug testing as reasonable for people in safety-critical jobs and students in extra-curricular activities (!), it still has never allowed a blanket random test of all government employees. (Private sector companies can require that all employees be drug tested because they’re not the government for the purpose of the fourth amendment.)

    See… that’s reasoning I never get… the government can’t violate our constitutional rights but private companies can? I’m sorry but the 4th Amendment clearly states that w/o a warrant, no seizures. Do we really surrender the Bill of Rights when we go to work?

    !&%$#*!ing drug testing, I’ll never, ever, ever work for anyone or any company requiring drug testing (unless the test is multiple choice or an essay question) again. I played that game once…

    • amen allan! if private companies are not bound by the “Supreme Law” of the land, then exactly what laws are they bound by?

      “We the People,” unwilling to tolerate horseshit from our elected officials, should be equally vociferous about not taking it from garden variety douche bags trying to dish it out on us.

      i’ve thought for a long time that the best thing we can do is make an amendment to the Constitution stating unequivocally that NO ONE has the right to violate our rights or treat us in any way less than as “equals” — and that it is the job of the Federal government to ensure such.

    • The Constitution is specifically a document that sets the (supposedly) limited powers of the government.

      The notion of Constitutional rights of individuals is really a misnomer. The Constitution doesn’t, and cannot grant rights to individuals. What it does, and can do, is limit the power, authority, or reach of government.

      We can pass laws to restrict what corporations or individuals can do to other individuals. We do that all the time, and it doesn’t require a Constitutional amendment. There’s nothing preventing us (other than politicians, lobbyists, and money interests) from legislating that corporations are not allowed to drug test as a condition of employment.

      And I agree, Allan. I have never worked for a company that required drug testing and I never will.

    • DdC

      I would think the 5th Amendment would apply. You “leave” your DNA and finger prints. Or they confiscate evidence from your garbage. But to force a urine test is forcing you to testify against yourself. In essence forcing a guilty plea without consent. I recollect it deemed Un-Constitutional to whiz quiz kidlets in school. I have never given a piss test either. But I try to never say never. Hope I never have to make the choice.

  • darkcycle

    The one time I was drug tested for a contract position I took was priceless. It was their policy. I didn’t do anything, in fact, I think I actually wake-n-baked the morning of the test. But they had NO other qualified applicants, and they had been trying to fill the position for months. I hadn’t applied for it because I knew the person who held the job before me and didn’t really want that job. But, as it happened my old contract had ended and the grant on which it operated was cancelled, so circumstances dictated…
    I peed, I was hired anyway without a word, and got sidelong glances from the H.R. head everytime I saw her! And I worked there for two years.

  • vicky vampire

    I have a feeling this new Florida Governor would not have pardoned Richard Paey Like at least Gov. Charlie Christ did.

  • Bocco

    Rick Scott is a train wreck. A criminal. A tea party politician that ran on a premise of less government and jobs creation. He spent over $25 million of his own money to get elected and the fools in Florida voted him in. Well all he has done is intrude more into our lives (drug testing) and give away in just one instance an estimated 24,000 jobs by saying he wouldn’t take stimulus money for high speed rail because, you know , it came from Obama, even though Republicans and Democrats in the State supported it. Not to mention him and his cronies have just taken away the rights of felons to vote after they have served their time. Could they be afraid that the 100,000 plus felons per year that got their rights could vote him out? (How many are minorities?) He is getting ready to hand Florida to the corporations on a silver platter. Impeach Him!

  • ezrydn

    You and me, both, Allan. One and only once. When They asked for it again, I walked out and started my own business making more being a consultant than I did with them, actually doing the same thing. And, since I wasn’t actually an employee, no testing. That was written into MY contract with them.

    You want me? You go along with my rules. Otherwise, NEXT! And there was always a “Next” waiting in the wings.

  • Windy

    If every employed person, in government or in the private sector, was to refuse to give urine for testing, they’d have a hell of a difficult time enforcing that law/rule. And I firmly believe every employee SHOULD refuse. Unfortunately, too many people have never been taught about individual liberty, and most are too wimpy to refuse anything to government or a private sector employer.

  • Reallynow

    Just asking here

    You believe that:
    Want to be police offices should be free from drug testing
    Correctional Officers should be free from Drug testing
    Arline Pilots
    Truck Drivers
    Train Operators
    Heavy Equipment Operators
    Ship Captains
    Boarder patrol
    Air Traffic Controllers
    ATF
    CIA
    FBI
    Really you really think that all of these people should be free to do as they please in their private life because it has no effect on the public life they lead.

    Frankly this did not go far enough as far as I am concerned I believe that if you are on Public assistance you should be drug tested my reasoning? if yu can afford drugs you can go to work.

  • So, Reallynow, are you saying that it’s OK for us to search your house to make sure you don’t have any explosives there? Because that would be dangerous to others have have an affect on the public life you lead. If you’ll send me your address, we’ll set up a random search regime for you.

    The point is that random and suspicionless drug testing ends up searching people who are doing no wrong, and in a free country, that is not allowed, any more than we can randomly search your house to make sure it’s explosive-free.

    If we do investigation and determine that there’s a good reason to believe that there are explosives in your house, then and only then can we search, following procedures set out in the Constitution.

    Drug testing all state employees doesn’t make us a bit safer. And if you’re a supervisor and need to have random drug tests to determine if an employee is too impaired (from drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep, etc.) to work safely, then YOU need to be fired.

  • Either everyone submits to drug testing or no one. I’m fine with either way, as long as everyone is under the same rules.

  • Bob

    “Well your resume looks good, but according to this, you smoked marijuana three weeks ago at your brother’s birthday party. Sorry, yo.”

    “So you’re saying dumb people should just do heroin and cocaine because it doesn’t stay in my system longer?”

    “No. ….Yes.”

    These things test if you’ve done them within a timeline, but it doesn’t test if you’re currently under the influence.