Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Drug Testing of State Workers Ruled Unconstitutional

| by Michael Allen

As predicted months ago by many legal observers, a federal judge ruled on Thursday that Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s requirement that all state workers undergo drug testing is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro said that Scott’s executive order violated the ban on unreasonable search and seizures: “The Supreme Court maintains that the government, unlike private employers, can test its employees for illegal drug use only when the testing is consistent with the Fourth Amendment."

“To be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, a search ordinarily must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which challenged the executive order, hailed the judge’s ruling: “The Governor can’t order the state to search people’s bodily fluids for no reason, the Constitution prohibits that sort of government intrusion."

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott promised to appeal the ruling in a statement: “As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive workforce."

"That is why so many private employers drug test, and why the public and Florida’s taxpayers overwhelmingly support this policy. I respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and will pursue the case on appeal.”