Federal Judge in Florida Rules Welfare Drug Testing Unconstitutional

Good news in Florida today. A federal judge in Orlando has ruled Florids's law requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs is 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.

< Lynne Stewart Granted Compassionate Release | Happy New Year's Eve >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Gov. Rick Scott is the worst... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 06:00:34 PM EST
    and I hope this ruling brings us closer to becoming a MM state.

    Seems like the public (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:40:05 PM EST
    wants it. 82% pro in this survey.

    Florida Poll -
    "Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?"

    [N=1,646 registered voters in Florida. MoE+/-2.4%]    Quinnipiac University   
    2013, Nov. 21


    Gov. Rick Scott... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:33:31 AM EST
    would that be the same major share holder in Solantic Rick Scott?  Who woulda think it? lol  

    drug-testing (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by leap on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 10:59:02 AM EST
    I don't see how this is different from drug-testing of potential job applicants, where one is considered a user before proven not to be a user. I remember the ACLU fought this one, too, as an unconstitutional requirement for work, but lost. I have refused to work for anyone requiring me to pee in a cup, but have to say, being principled is getting harder and harder and lonelier in a fascist nation.

    It's different...... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 02:17:25 PM EST
    in various ways.

    "I don't see how this is different from drug-testing of potential job applicants,...."

    First, a job applicant has choices; he/she can choose to only apply for jobs that don't require a "pee-test." You could say a destitute, head-of-household also has the choice of watching his children suffer from malnutrition, but, I assume you get my drift here.

    Secondly, there's an enormous difference in the goals (agendas) the two examples hold. One could make a cogent, reasonable argument for drug testing a job applicant for all the reasons one can imagine: safety, productivity, legal exposure, etc. Asking for public assistance, however, carries with it political baggage we're all quite familiar with. Being "tough on deadbeats," while making no financial sense whatsoever, does provide the charlatan politicians waving that flag some political benefits. It's not dissimilar to the non existent "problem" of "voter fraud" at the ballot box.



    "Non-existent" voter fraud (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:43:54 AM EST
    is not quite an accurate description. It DOES exist - here, for example.  Just not to the extent that the Republicans and Fox News would like you to believe.

    Too much voting? Hardly an issue. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 02:34:41 PM EST
    The real crime is too little voting by voters.

    Cup tests (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 11:37:33 AM EST
    are better than hair tests, which can show potential drug over a longer period of time and are harder to beat.

    I worked with a gentleman who did not know we were required to be drug tested for a short-term (temporary) job and he had shaved his head several days before the job started.  I remember him telling me that he was glad he had chest hair which they took) because if he hadn't been a hairy man they would have looked further south to get a sample!


    When I took a hair test... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:12:27 AM EST
    I was appalled.  Filthy "lab" (using the term very loosely) with a secretary armed with scissors ready to do damage to my lid.  I said f*ck that, take some chest hair instead.

    I passed, thanks to the magic shampoo from the head shop...then turned down the job.  Double sweet! My current boss came up with a raise, and it wasn't a place I think I would have liked working for anyway...huge corporation who requested I take the stupid hair test after my urine test came back "negative diluted", aka I drank too much water.  All after they had determined by interview I was their man.  Foolish suckas.


    Ummmm ... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 03:33:02 PM EST
    Among other issues, the problem is you don't give up your rights under the Constitution (including the 4th Amendment) when you apply for public benefits.

    In replt to ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Yman on Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 03:33:47 PM EST
    ... cassandra1313.

    Cokeheads on Wall St... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:16:20 AM EST
    have taken more money from the state than people on public assistance could ever dream of.  Selective outrage much?

    Besides, just because a person requesting public assistance fails a drug test doesn't mean they've spent a nickel on drugs...it could mean they have good friends who share with a friend down on their luck.    

    Pleaze... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:15:46 AM EST
    ...like the testing is about helping anyone, simply another BS angle the idiot brigade can use to deny people help who need it the most.

    Tools like Trey Radel vote for this garbage too stoopid to realize that it's none of his business.  If he actually believed in the policy, he would have resigned at his earliest convenience after his cocaine arrest and returned all his ill gotten drug tainted gains.  Funny, right.

    If they want to test people 'suckling' off the government's teet, they should not just focus on the poor folks.  Test every person who the government cuts a check to, including foreign heads of state, all politicians, every banker that received a portion of the bailout, every retiree, and many more.

    The problem is once you start testing that many folks and denying them benefits, there won't be anyone left.  It take more than poor folks on welfare to spend the estimated 100 billion dollars a year estimated that America spends on illegal drugs.  Never mind the ones strung out on prescriptions that drug testing doesn't cover...

    We are a Nation of users and as soon as we figure it that out, we might be able to start helping folks which doesn't mean taking away the very thing that keeps their families from starving.


    More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government's 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    The Order, Courtesy of the ACLU (none / 0) (#2)
    by Michael Masinter on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:19:10 PM EST
    Here's the court's order; it makes a great read.

    I don't like (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 07:35:26 PM EST
    this kind of political posturing legislation. Appearance of action with no real action, just wasting time.

    If this stipulation survives: (none / 0) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 11:35:29 PM EST
    "For example, some states are now screening applicants and require drug tests only of those who appear to be drug users," prepare yourself to get a glimpse of what happens when authority is placed in the hands of ill-equipped, untrained, anti social, misfits. Of course, it depends on who gets to decide if the applicant "appears" to be a drug user.

    That authority, (determining who "appears" to be a user/abuser/addict,) in the case of filling prescriptions for pain medication, specifically narcotic, and/or opiate based meds, is in full force in the State of Tennessee. And, from personally witnessing many, many of such instances, I assure you that the abuses by the dispensers outnumber those by patients/customers by a factor of something approaching infinity to one.

    In Tennessee the authority of whether to dispense, or deny, a legal, physician written, Insurance Co. approved script resides with the clerk behind the counter. The law is written in such a way that even if the patient's doctor pleads his/her case via a phone call supplementing the written script, the final decision is reserved for the potentially, functionally,  illiterate school dropout manning the counter. All that is required for the sadistic twit to fulfill his joyfully demented torture of the 75 year old cancer patient having to go home to face a night of unbearable pain is for the employee to simply claim, "in my judgment" the customer is an addict."

    There are even dozens (hundreds?) of blogs catering to pharmacy employees where they gather like "Animal House-Like" swine, regaling their sadistic, sociopathic encounters with terminally ill customers/patients. Just type in something like, "pharmacy employees love torturing their customers," and, prepare to get violently sick.

    On the other hand, this result may just be what the "legislators" wanted all along anyway?    

    What's wrong is... (none / 0) (#15)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:40:01 AM EST
    ...assuming that there's a high likelihood of someone applying for assistance having "a diagnosable substance abuse or dependence diagnosis" in the first place, just like it's wrong to assume that "they're all lazy bums".

    When you actually look into the matter, it turns out that neither is true in the great majority of cases.

    And even the idiot we sent to Raleigh realizes that drug testing all of them is spending a dollar to save a dime (or less), just so that we can look "tough on 'whatever'".

    Now only if they'd get the same message about "voter fraud" (but of course it's actually valid voting they're hoping to prevent).

    Drug testing welfare applicants isn't done for their benefit or to reduce government spending, it's done to belittle them and to enable politicians to posture.

    If the state already somehow had documentation of an applicant having an ongoing substance abuse problem, and wanted to make access to welfare conditional on getting treatment (which I assume the state would provide at its own expense?), that might be different, but to just assume "they're applying for welfare, they must be a drunk or a junkie" is just an exercise in prejudice.

    Well said uni... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:44:31 AM EST
    or as Joe Strummer put it, most succintly...

    You have the right to food money
    Providing of course you
    Don't mind a little
    And if you cross your fingers...