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0-For-5: In latest Blow to Scott, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Drug-Testing State Workers

| April 21, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott's petition to--or audition before--the U.S. Supreme Court went as well as four previous such petitions before four previous courts as the Florida governor lost yet again in a recurring attempt to force the drug-testing of state workers.

Gov. Rick Scott’s petition to–or audition before–the U.S. Supreme Court went as well as four previous such petitions before four previous courts as the Florida governor lost yet again in a recurring attempt to force the drug-testing of state workers.

In a blow to Gov. Rick Scott, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it would not take up his appeal of a ruling that blocked across-the-board drug testing for state employees.

The Supreme Court did not give a reason for its decision, which was included in a list of dozens of other cases it declined to hear. Justices receive thousands of appeals a year but decide to hear arguments in only about 100.

Scott issued an executive order in 2011 seeking drug testing for state workers but quickly faced a legal challenge from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. They contended that the policy violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

Attorneys for Scott pointed, in part, to drug testing that is common in the private sector. But opponents argued that “suspicionless” drug testing by government is unconstitutional.

“Every court that has heard Gov. Scott’s argument agrees: Without a threat to public safety or suspicion of drug use, people can’t be required to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to serve the people of Florida,” Shalini Goel Agarwal, the ACLU’s lead attorney in the case, said in a prepared statement Monday.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that drug tests could not be justified constitutionally for many of the 85,000 workers who would be subject to Scott’s policy and sent the case back to a district court to determine which workers could be tested. That prompted Scott to file a petition in January asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appeals-court ruling.

The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not end litigation in the case. The two sides continue to carry out a painstaking process of looking at different categories of workers to determine whether some could be subject to drug testing — a process stemming from the appeals court ruling.

In it decision, for example, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said drug testing could be justified in “safety sensitive” positions, such as for employees who operate heavy machinery.

A document filed April 11 in federal court in Miami indicates that the process of determining which employees are subject to drug-testing could take months and lead to clashes between the two sides. Scott issued a statement Monday indicating he hasn’t budged on the need for drug testing.

“State employees should have the right to work in a safe and drug free environment, just like in any other business,” Scott said. “The merits of this case are still being deliberated in the U.S. Southern District Court, and we will continue to fight to make sure all state employees, who are paid by taxpayer funds, can work in a safe, drug free workplace.”

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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11 Responses for “0-For-5: In latest Blow to Scott, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Drug-Testing State Workers”

  1. A.S.F. says:

    At least the Supreme Court got this one right (which just goes to show how wrong Governor Scott was to push this in the first place.)

  2. Gia says:

    That is wrong. When you work for a private company you have to pass the urine drug test. Why the rule would be different for any of these state idiots?

    • A.S.F. says:

      @Gia says–I don’t know where you got the impression that every (or even most) private companies make you pass a drug test. But, I’ll tell you what…If Governor Scott and his personal staff wish to voluntarily take them a voluntary and random basis, just to calm the fears of the anxious public, he and his staff are welcome to set an example among themselves…as long as they don’t do it at taxpayers expense and especially id]f the company who administers said tests aren’t associated with his wife’s business concerns.

    • barbie says:

      Half the employers in this country are voluntarily no longer doing drug screening like this anyway. As it should be. The bigger point here is that none of us should have to prove our urine is *pure*, just so we can work for a living.

      The only exception that should be made is if you operate machinery, or service members of the public in a motorized or electric vehicle of any sort (cars, buses, trains, planes). That’s it! The rest of it can and should fall to “background checks”. Period.

    • Max Awesomeness says:

      Wrongo, drug testing is almost always up to the discretion of the employer. Google, for example, generally doesn’t drug test unless there’s good reason to think that an employee’s performance is being adversely affected by drug use.

      Really, why do you care? If someone drinks or smokes weed off the job and it doesn’t cause problems on the job, then what’s your problem?

  3. RHWeir says:

    If there is good cause, yes. If not, no.

  4. orphan says:

    I concur 100% with the right of an employer-the State of Florida in this case- to be allowed to screen/test workers for ANY drugs in their bodies! The legal ones can be allowed, depending on the job requirements,
    to continue as normal.
    The person working right next to or in an environment affected by a person under the influence of anything should be allowed the protection of knowing that their fellow worker(s) are not SAFE TO BE AROUND.
    Just my opinion.

    • barbie says:

      Do you really trust “test results” to tell you whether someone is “safe to be around”? If you can’t tell the difference by working with them, it’s surely safe to say you’re not in any danger. Why wouldn’t you just trust your own judgement?

  5. Joseph Pulitzer says:

    One and Done!!!!!

  6. Tommy says:

    El Duce lost again. Please, vote this guy out!

  7. Sherry Epley says:

    It’s just so bizarre to me that many of the same people who think ANY drugs (except alcohol of course. . . smirking) are dangerous, actually go on and on about how it’s fine to have unregistered guns everywhere. Just where is the intelligent logic in that way of thinking?

    Rick Scott and his cronies in the legislature need to go!!!

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