Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welfare-Drug Testing Program Ruled Unconstitutional

From the New York Times

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing, setting the stage for a legal battle that could affect similar efforts nationwide.

Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando held that the testing requirement, the signature legislation of Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who campaigned on the issue, violated the protection against unreasonable searches.

“The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied,” she wrote. The ruling made permanent an earlier, temporary ban by the judge.
Tuesday’s decision stemmed from a 2011 suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Florida Justice Institute on behalf of a Central Florida resident, Luis W. Lebron, a Navy veteran and full-time student who had filed for public assistance. Mr. Lebron, who provided care for his disabled mother and was raising a young child as a single father, argued that it was unfair to require drug testing when no suspicion of drug abuse existed.

Given that these bills cost far more money than they save (which is allegedly the reasoning for these bills according to their supporters), I'm not seeing how this is in any way conservative fiscally.

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