UPDATE (4/21): The ACLU has just announced that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case, the appeals process has effectively ended, and thus the Appeals Court ruling against the drug-testing policy remains the final word. We’ll continue tracking the issue to see whether the court rulings affect similar policies proposed in other states:
Today, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will not hear an appeal from Florida Governor Rick Scott seeking to overturn an 11th Circuit Court decision that declared unconstitutional the Governor’s Executive Order mandating that state employees in the Governor’s purview submit to suspicionless urinalysis….
The latest in a series of victories for privacy rights in the state’s costly legal battles in defense of unconstitutional drug testing programs under the Scott administration, the Supreme Court declined to grant Gov. Scott’s petition for writ of certiorari, leaving in place an appeals court decision that the state cannot subject all employees to mandatory urinalysis. Today’s decision by the nation’s highest court effectively ends the appeals process for the Governor’s Executive Order for across-the-board testing.
Read more about the case on the ACLU of Florida’s site.
It might seem reasonable that Florida’s governor Rick Scott wants to ensure all state agencies are drug-free workplaces; after all, why would you want your taxpayer money going to support the habit of some stoned, slothful bureaucrat? But what is the state really asking for when it demands that each public servant pee in a cup?
When Governor Scott issued an executive order for mandatory drug testing across the state’s entire public workforce in March 2011, the political logic seemed straightforward: “the State, as an employer, has an obligation to maintain discipline, health, and safety in the workplace.” But underlying that seeming moral obligation are some questionable social assumptions. What does a positive test mean when your economic fate hinges on the result? What kind of “discipline” is maintained by subjugating bodily privacy in the name of “public safety”?
Today the Supreme Court is weighing the constitutional question the policy has evoked: When your boss is the state, can the “drug-free workplace” be a Fourth Amendment free zone?
The Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Scott v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME) 79, to review whether the state can legitimately administer “drug testing in the absence of reasonable suspicion of drug use,” based on the state’s interest in ensuring a drug-free workplace for 85,000 state employees and applicants for state jobs.