Judge Orders Florida to Stop Welfare Drug Tests

Says it will likely be ruled unconstitutional
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Scaramouche
Posted Oct 26, 2011 12:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge has ordered Florida to suspend its “suspicionless drug testing” of would-be welfare recipients, writing that “there is a substantial likelihood” that the law requiring such tests will be deemed unconstitutional. The ruling comes thanks to an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of one welfare recipient—an unemployed ex-Marine, college student, and single dad—who refused to take the test because he felt it violated the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure, CNN reports.

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The judge denied the ACLU’s request to make the case a class-action suit, but otherwise seemed sympathetic. “Perhaps no greater public interest exists than protecting a citizen's rights under the Constitution,” she wrote. A similar law in Michigan was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in 2003. Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office says he “obviously disagrees with the decision,” and is evaluating his appeal options. (Read more drug test stories.)

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