ACLU Sues to End Rick Scott's Drug Testing Laws on Behalf of Navy Vet

Categories: Politicks
Thumbnail image for rick scott_pot (1).jpg
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed suit yesterday to end the state's new controversial requirement that all people seeking help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program undergo a drug test. The law was passed earlier this year at the behest of Gov.Rick Scott, but so far only about two percent of applicants have tested positive for drugs calling into questions its fiscal sense. The ACLU also claims the law violates the U.S. Constitution.

The ACLU filed the suit in a federal court yesterday on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who is currently finishing school at University of Central Florida. He's also the sole caregiver for his disabled mother.

Lebron applied for assistance from TANF but refused to undergo the drug test, or as the ACLU press release pointedly puts it, "refused to waive his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and submit to the newly required drug test."

"I served my country, I'm in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son," Lebron said in the release. "It's insulting and degrading that people think I'm using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education."

The group points out that a similar law was struck down in Michigan back in 2000 because it violated the Fourth Amendment and hopes to see similar results in Florida.

"This law violates more than the rights guaranteed by our Constitution - it violates basic American dignity and fairness by assuming that everyone who needs help is a lazy drug abuser," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLUFL in the release. "Ugly, disproven stereotypes make bad laws."

The suit seeks to have the provisions in the law requiring drug tests to be declared unconstitutional.

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39 comments
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casey kamarchik
casey kamarchik

I hope Lebron wins his case and the state gets rid of this ridiculous stipulation. The fact that Lebron was a sailor who served his country makes this even more egregious.

Kamataki
Kamataki

This just goes to show how little people understand.  The Supreme Court has decided in prior cases that when you get money from the government, the government has the power to make the conditions regarding approval for such benefit.  The government isn't raiding your person, residence, place of works, etc., you are going to them.  You may qualify for but you do not have a right to welfare.  It is a conscious decision you make, to do or not to do.  I would think it is more demeaning to go in asking for a handout than to be tested in order to get it.

RoughAcres
RoughAcres

Maybe Rick Scott should re-forecast his earnings; if the law is found unConstitutional, he'll lose MILLIONS of dollars.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

What does he have to hide? The average person has to be drug tested for a job, why can't these leeches be tested for the free money and benefits?

Anon
Anon

did you bother to read the article or are you biased against any and all welfare recipients? as for the average person being drug tested, i don't buy that. i've held several jobs in my twenty years and counting of hard work and have NEVER been tested.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

You must work for insignicant companies who put up with drug use among their employees.

Yaegerj
Yaegerj

If Mr. Scott insist on the drug testing for welfare persons, it should also be given to all law enforcement officiers, judges, prosecutors,public defenders, and lawyers. How about that MR. SCott... 

Yaegerj
Yaegerj

Is there anyway to get this Governor out of office, before hand? Like getting enough petitions to remove him?

seep
seep

No, Florida law does not allow recalls at the state level.

Lo1
Lo1

I thought that  Scott, the Tea Party heartthrob that he is, would be a strict Constitutionalists.  If a State law is in conflict with the US Constitution it should be struck down.  Let the ACLU challenge it in court.  If it is found to be unconstitutional I'm sure Mr. Scott would be happy to know he is overstepping his constitutional authority. 

bocanegrarafael
bocanegrarafael

If governor Scott didn't had what it took and eliminated drug testing againts goverment employes can't see why he should force those seeking assistance for being down and out to the same

bigriggs
bigriggs

I am so sick of the aclu.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

Me too. Just a bunch of liberals trying to destroy the constitution.

nevernot
nevernot

Destroy the constitution by defending the fourth amendment? Are you serious?

Anon
Anon

is it because you're an idiot?

bigriggs
bigriggs

Big deal if they get drug tested. I have been drug tested for work and college football. People get drug tested every day. I drug test every employee that works for my company. Had to let a few go that failed the test but it was a bless, we became a much better work force without them.

Call me names all you want. Your opinion of me means less than zero.

Eandvindustries
Eandvindustries

 Your delusional if you think "you're" tax dollars are being used. You represent less than a percent of a percent of funds received by the government, all of your pathetic tax dollars combined would not equal to weeks paycheck for a politician so get that shit out of your dumb ass head. You don't run shit! Your money ain't going no where but in fat cats pockets! Wake the fuck up!

nevernot
nevernot

Work and college are not the government. The government must follow it's own laws and seizure without probable cause is a big one. If they disregarded that constitutionally guaranteed right the police could walk in to any home or business and seize whatever they wanted for any reason, like your new flatscreen tv a day before the Superbowl. The laws are there for a reason, if you don't like it start a campaign to repeal the fourth amendment but dont complain when an educated veteran decides to stand up for his rights, the rights he fought to defend.

nevernot
nevernot

Actually 98% passed. The national average of illicit drug users is 8.7%, welfare recipients are apparently 2% if you do not count the false positives that are now showing up after retesting the original samples.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Because his rich pill popping associates are not wasting tax dollars on the purchase of drugs. I think anybody that uses illegal drugs is pathetic but I certainly don't want my hard earned dollars paying for some potheads weekly supply. that money should be used on education, housing, clothing, food and not weed.

SashaB
SashaB

The big deal is he is not demanding that he and his cabnet get tested. I live in florida and we are known for perscription drug abuse not illegal. He is not testing himself or his rich pill popping associates so why why waste tax dollars to target the poor. 96% passed and the state has to pay ALL of that back plus the assistance they applied for in the first place....Thats a huge deal!

seep
seep

Hopefully these lawsuits will somehow extend to the private sector as well.  We have been cowed into accepting routine violations of privacy, and drug tests are just that.  They test what we do in our personal time, not what we do while on the clock.  For instance, if I took MDMA over the weekend, how does that impinge on my Monday-through-Friday work performance?  Why must I lose my livelihood for such an irrelevant act?

bigriggs
bigriggs

Do all the stupid drugs you want, just don't bitch and moan when you fail a drug test and get fired. I, for one, would not want any kind of drug user working for me. This includes alcoholics.

Dru
Dru

Seep you obviously do not own a business. When you are a part of a company, you project that companies image in and outside the work place. I have all 42 of my employees drug tested when they come to work for me and I do random tests throughout the year. If my construction VP gets busted for smoking pot its going to make the local news papers and that reflects negatively on me personally. If I am paying someone they are going to have to play by my rules or they can go work somewhere else. If you want to smoke pot or do drugs in your personal time, that is completely fine with me. I will just have to ask you to go seek employment elsewhere.

Yaegerj
Yaegerj

I agree with your decision to do what you want in your business, but here is a question for you. If your busy drug testing your employees, who is drug testing you?

QuitYourBitchin
QuitYourBitchin

If ya got nothing to be guilty of why complain? Would he be protesting the drug test if it was for an employer? Did he forget you get drug tested to joined the armed services too? He's just mad because he probably smokes pot!

nevernot
nevernot

Quite a lot of assumptions there, do you know him personally or just accusing a stranger of being a drug user. This man fought to protect our nation and to defend the constitution only to have a criminal in the governors office try to take away his constitutionally guaranteed rights. How would you feel if your freedom of speech was taken away? Without the fourth amendment the police could walk into your home at will and take whatever they please as "evidence" without being held accountable. Btw, just for reference, the fourth amendment bars the government from warrantless seizure of property and entering into any contract that strips away your constitutional rights. Businesses are not.

Anon
Anon

who gives a flying fuck if he smokes pot? what difference does it make what he does with his personal time? this law is an assault on the poor by the privileged vampiric overlords sucking the will out of the less fortunate. ask yourself who is benefiting from this law.

bigriggs
bigriggs

I give a flying fuck if he's smoking pot and also drawing welfare. How much of the money he is leaching off of the tax payers is going to weed? If he is living off my tax dollars, he does need to be wasting those said dollars on drugs. I guess that's the way of thinking of some. Forget all about education, work, clothing a child etc... Give me my damn money so I can get stoned.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Maybe I have become clouded a little. I see abuses every day of virtually every system put in place by our government (by those big and small) and it just makes me see red. I should sit back and just figure it is all for the better good in the long run. I guess sometimes I just read the headlines and not between the lines.

My father served in Korea and was wounded, I tried to enlist in the marines in 1992 and was denied (3 shoulder surgeries by the time I was 18 with 2 shoulder, 2 knee surgeries and 1 ankle surgery in the last 8 years. Thanks a lot college football).

Kudos to your family and friends for serving and apologies for the losses.

nevernot
nevernot

I actually am that stubborn in regards to other laws and freedoms, especially constitutionally guaranteed ones. I've lost most of my family and a large number of friends in the military fighting to honor and preserve our constitution. If I allow one persons rights to get trampled I feel I've let down their memories. My grandfather pressed the importance of the rule of law into me at an early age, I still remember the placard on his desk inscribed with the quote "Your rights end where mine begin"... He took that very seriously and not just from his point of view, he stressed the importance of recognizing when my own exercising of freedoms began infringing on others. When I see what Rick Scott is doing it makes my stomach turn, he has no right whatsoever to limit any free persons rights. Regardless of the worthiness of the recipients, they have rights guaranteed to them. No one has the right to take those away ever.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Are you this ardent when it comes to immigration and gun control laws? I have to admit, you are persistent. I might change my mind in a day, next week or even next month. Please don't think this is my stance based on the fact they are welfare eligible people. The only reason I don't mind this, (remember the persistence might still pay off) is I have a very strong dislike of drug users.

nevernot
nevernot

While they may not have envisioned this particular situation it still offers basic fundamental protections to the citizenry as it did the day it was written. Therein lies it's brilliance. It does however disturb me that you can pick and choose which constitutionally guaranteed civil rights to apply and which groups get the protections guaranteed to all. That isn't very patriotic of you, there is no picking and choosing what laws to follow based on convenience. Either take them all or renounce your citizenship and leave the country governed by those laws.

bigriggs
bigriggs

Yes, I am a very productive, very proud citizen and I have zero problem with this law. Just agree to disagree. I love my country and would do anything for my country but I don't think the founding fathers envisioned situations such as this when they wrote the constitution. I, for one, feel better at night when I know welfare earners are not using my money for getting high. End of story.

nevernot
nevernot

I know that it's happening, at roughly one quarter the rate of the national average if you do not count the false positives that are showing up after retesting the original samples. The national average for illicit drug use is 8.7% and the Florida welfare drug tests came back at 2% (before eliminating the false positives). Unfortunately it's not just peeing in a cup more or less, it's unwarranted seizure of bodily fluids without probable cause by a governmental agency. It is against the fourth amendment to seize any personal artifacts without probable cause and a warrant. I may not like the idea of welfare recipients getting stoned on gov money but I like the idea of a criminal governor bypassing constitutional rights en masse even less. I have to wonder why you aren't mad about your rights being taken away from you yourself, are you a citizen? Why aren't you performing your duty as such and defending our constitution from those who would try to violate it?

bigriggs
bigriggs

My response was in general to this article, not to this particular person. Where in the constitution does it state that welfare leeches have the right to get stoned on my dime? If you don't think that is happening, you are way out of touch. After all, it's just peeing in a cup. Nothing more, nothing less.

nevernot
nevernot

 If you read the article you'd notice that a, he is a veteran, b, he is currently enrolled in school, c, he is the sole care giver to an elderly parent, and most importantly d, he did NOT fail a drug test, he objected to having his constitutionally guaranteed rights stripped away. If you disagree with that and are okay with having your rights stripped away you are not an American. It is all of our duty to uphold the constitution and the rights guaranteed within.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

Do you believe he should be buying the pot with tax dollars paid for by the working people?

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