Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s obsession with drug testing everyone under the sun has run into another judicial snag. A federal judge struck down a law requiring drug testing for all state employees, concluding — quite rightly — that such testing can only be done based on individualized suspicion:
In a 37-page opinion (PDF), U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that Scott’s executive order for blanket testing of 85,000 state employees violated the ban on unreasonable search and seizures.
“The Supreme Court maintains that the government, unlike private employers, can test its employees for illegal drug use only when the testing is consistent with the Fourth Amendment,” Ungaro wrote.
“To be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, a search ordinarily must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing,” the judge added. “The privacy interests infringed upon here outweigh the public interest sought. That is a fatal mix under the prevailing precedents.”The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLUFL), which challenged the executive order on behalf of two labor unions, hailed the judge’s ruling.
“The Governor can’t order the state to search people’s bodily fluids for no reason – the Constitution prohibits that sort of government intrusion,” ACLUFL Executive Director Howard Simon said in a press advisory. “And the Governor can’t demand that people surrender their constitutional rights for the privilege of working for the state or receiving some other government benefit.”
You can read the full ruling here. His plan to drug test all welfare recipients was also struck down last fall.