After already issuing a preliminary injunction, a federal judge has made that injunction permanent and declared Florida’s appalling drug testing program for those receiving public assistance permanent to be unconstitutional. The judge rightly said that drug testing without individualized suspicion is a violation of the 4th Amendment.
Judge Mary S. Scriven of United States District Court wrote in her decision that the state’s testing requirement was unconstitutional. “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.
It’s really hard to imagine how anyone could argue to the contrary. Gov. Rick Scott fails completely in the attempt:
The requirement had been a signature legislation of Gov. Rick Scott, who argued that the drug testing was necessary to help protect taxpayers and families. Mr. Scott said Tuesday that the state would appeal the ruling.
“Any illegal drug use in a family is harmful and even abusive to a child,” he said in a statement. “We should have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use in families — especially those families who struggle to make ends meet and need welfare assistance to provide for their children.”
Why especially those families, governor? If illegal drug use “in a family” is child abuse, then why didn’t you demand that the law provide mandatory drug testing for every parent? Why did you single out only poor families? Is it more abusive for a poor parent to use drugs than a middle class parent or a wealthy one? This is nothing more than scapegoating the poor. But being poor does not mean the constitution does not protect you.