Florida Welfare Drug Testing Struck Down

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.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    It’s really hard to imagine how anyone could argue to the contrary.

    The NSA argument: It’s not unconstitutional, since we’re just cataloging and saving copies of all the tests, from everyone, we have systems in place both to protect privacy, ensure that only everyone in the NSA can access it, and to ensure that each test has at least a 50% chance of being a foreign citizen, and most of the work is contracted out to private companies who don’t have the Constitutional issues we have, making the rest of my apologetics unnecessary. Plus, since we know Al Qaeda and its affiliates traffic drugs to fund operations, any drugs in the systems of tested applicants is a clear sign that terrorism did, still, and will always form an existential threat to our very way of life.

  • coragyps

    Every state needs a law mandating random drug and alcohol screening of all of their elected officials. Even on weekends….

    And I’m guessing they will turn up more positives than they get testing welfare recipients.

  • Abby Normal

    You know what else harms children, withholding the food stamps that let them avoid starvation.

  • abb3w

    Sigh. Despite this, Rob Bell is reportedly planning to introduce a similar law here to the legislature here in Virginia. (Bell is the guy who lost the GOP nomination for VA AG to Obenshain, who in turn lost by a hair in the general election to Democrat Herring.)

  • Michael Heath

    Abby Normal writes:

    You know what else harms children, withholding the food stamps that let them avoid starvation..

    Since the SNAP program isn’t designed to provide 100% of a child’s nutritional needs, ending extended unemployment insurance will also harm some children.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Abby Normal “You know what else harms children, withholding the food stamps that let them avoid starvation.”

    Wrong. If you really want to help children you have to let them lift themselves up by their bootstraps. But, more importantly, for them to rise highest we have to cut their taxes. First on the chopping block: Entitlements. Specifically, bootstraps.

  • cptdoom

    Every state needs a law mandating random drug and alcohol screening of all of their elected officials. Even on weekends….

    And I’m guessing they will turn up more positives than they get testing welfare recipients.

    Oh screw that – test their kids instead. After all, the taxpayers are subsidizing the health insurance of their little tykes, and we know at least one former governor had a daughter with a pretty bad drug problem – thanks to that socialist Obama, these kids can now stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26 – how many trips to rehab are the taxpayers supposed to pay for?

  • chuckster

    I love the line protect the taxpayer. Those drug test aren’t cheap. What are really doing is giving taxpayer money to the drug test companies, probably far more than would save on public benefits.

  • magistramarla

    I wonder when someone will use the same argument against mandatory drug testing for employment?

    I suppose private businesses might get away with it, but what about testing state and government employees without reason of suspicion?

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    Striking down drug testing wasn’t enough.

    The company which did the testing should reimburse the taxpayers the costs of all the tests. Scott is part owner of the company, so there was clear conflict of interest.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/gov-rick-scott-solantic-and-conflict-of-interest-whats-the-deal/1161158

    The only welfare fraud that happened was the testing itself.

  • dugglebogey

    This was never about “protecting the taxpayer.” It was always about profits for the clinics where the mandatory drug testing was done. Clinics owned by the Governor, coincidentally.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    dugglebogey “This was never about ‘protecting the taxpayer.’ It was always about profits for the clinics where the mandatory drug testing was done.”

    Sure, but even if it only broke even, you can’t put a price on poor-baiting.

  • suttkus

    It’s been known for a while that they spent more money in drug testing than they saved in not paying out welfare money. Any attempt to spin this as protecting taxpayer dollars is simply a joke, and not a very funny one. It was never about saving money, it was about lining the governor’s pocket, which the program has been very successful at.

  • cry4turtles

    IMHO it’s a net for fishing out the pot smokers-offenders who pay, ergo more profit for for-profit jails. But maybe I just need a tin-foil hat.

  • jnorris

    Republican Tea Party congressman from Florida guilty of using cocaine. Gov Rick Scott does not call for mandatory drug testing of Republican Tea Party politicians.