U.S. Supreme Court Might Take Up Rick Scott's "Drug Test Everyone" Plan
Gov. Rick Scott's plan to randomly drug test every single state employee in Florida -- from department heads to minimum wage DMV janitors -- has already failed the common-sense test and an appeals court ruling. A trial run of the program found that almost no state employees were failing, while an appeals court ruled that the program violated the constitution.
But Scott hasn't given up on the idea yet. The U.S. Supreme Court will likely decide this week whether to take up the latest petition filed by Scott's lawyers.
Scott issued an executive order in 2011 ordering all 85,000-plus state employee to pee in a cup, but that order was quickly challenged by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The union -- which represents about 40,000 of those workers -- argued that the order violated the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable search and seizures. In April 2012, a Miami federal judge agreed with the union and issued a permanent injunction against Scott's plan.
The biggest problem, Judge Ursula Ungaro wrote, was that Scott couldn't show any pressing need for the testing that outweighed the privacy of the state employees.
To wit: For three years, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Juvenile Justice did their own drug testing and less than one percent of their workers failed.
So would it really be fair to the 99 percent of clean government workers to be subject to invasive screening to catch the one percent who mostly failed for marijuana use? Ungaro didn't think so.
"The privacy interests infringed upon here outweigh the public interest sought," she wrote at the time. "That is a fatal mix under the prevailing precedents."
But in Scott's new brief -- posted yesterday on SCOTUSblog -- his attorneys argue that since "consent to drug testing is a routine part of applying for and keeping a job" in the private sector, the government should be able to do the same.
The high court will meet privately on Friday to decide whether to take up Scott's appeal.
Here's the full appeal: