Scott takes state worker drug testing to supreme court

Critics point to past court rulings against such drug testing

Author: Joy Purdy, 5:30, 6:30 and 11 p.m. anchor, jpurdy@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 09:04:29 PM EST
Gov At JAxport
Tallahassee, Florida -

Arguing that Florida has an "overriding interest in a drug-free workforce," Governor Scott has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of a drug-testing policy for state employees.

Lawyers for Scott filed a petition today asking the nation's highest court to hear the case, after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals last year ruled against across-the-board drug testing.

In the petition, the Scott administration pointed to the use of drug testing by private employers and said illegal drug use "increases financial costs, creates safety hazards, and impairs productivity."

Federal courts have ruled against Scott on the issue, as opponents have argued that government drug tests violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

A federal district judge in 2012 ruled that the state-worker drug testing was unconstitutional and blocked the Scott administration from carrying out the policy. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year said that drug tests could be justified for some employees whose duties raise safety concerns.

But the appeals court also indicated that drug tests could not be justified constitutionally for many of the 85,000 workers who could be subject to Scott's policy. The appeals court sent the case back to a lower court, with directions to sort through job categories to determine which workers could be tested.