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A Times Editorial

Editorial: Right call against drug testing

U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven made the right call when she ruled that a law requiring drug testing for Florida's poorest residents was unconstitutional. Gov. Rick Scott, who plans to appeal the decision, should stop wasting taxpayers' money and focus on more important issues.

The 2011 law would require Floridians applying for welfare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, to submit to and pay for drug tests. Opponents say the drug tests amount to an unconstitutional search and seizure. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Navy veteran and single father Luis Lebron sued the state. It wasn't long before the courts began siding with him, first issuing a temporary injunction against the law's implementation in 2011 and on New Year's Eve strikingly it down entirely.

"The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied," Scriven wrote.

Poor people who come to the government for help should not be forced to sacrifice their privacy and be treated as criminal suspects. Both circuit and appeals courts have agreed. Yet each time, Scott refuses to stand down. Enough. He should respect the courts' decision and move on.

Editorial: Right call against drug testing 01/06/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 4:56pm]
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