Federal Appeals Court Latest To Strike Down Florida's Welfare Drug Testing Law

Dec 3, 2014

Credit MGN Online

A federal appeals court has thrown out a 2011 law requiring the drug testing of Florida welfare recipients. Governor Rick Scott has backed efforts to reinstate the mandate, despite multiple courts ruling against him.

Maria Kayanan represents the American Civil Liberties Union, who brought the original suit on behalf of a Navy vet and welfare applicant who refused to submit to a drug test. While she’s pleased with the ruling, she says she’s not surprised.

“…because it’s what we told the Legislature when we considering this bill,” continued Kayanan. “We told them it was a violation of the Fourth amendment. We told them we would sue. We told them the courts would strike it down, and we were right! Each court that has considered this each time!”

After hearing oral arguments about two weeks ago, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with last year’s ruling by a U.S. District Judge that the 2011 law is unconstitutional. In their brief, the three-judge panel stated the “state has not demonstrated a substantial need to carry out the suspicionless search, only a generalized public interest.”

Still, Kayanan says even after multiple courts have already struck down the 2011 mandate, she’s not sure if the Scott administration will put an end to the legal battle.

“There are other steps that they could take,” she added. “I don’t think they would be successful. It all depends on how much more of the state’s money they want to risk..”

A spokesman for the Governor says the Governor's office is reviewing the court's order.

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