Judge Blocks Florida’s Law Requiring Drug Tests For Welfare applicants

Yesterday, federal Judge Mary Scriven — a President George W. Bush appointee — temporarily blocked Florida’s law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test at their own expense before they can receive benefits. Scriven ruled that the law may violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures: “This potential interception of positive drug tests by law enforcement implicates a ‘far more substantial’ invasion of privacy than in ordinary civil drug testing cases.” Nearly 1,600 applicants have refused to take the test since testing began this summer, and “they aren’t required to say why.” More than 7,000 have passed while only 32 have failed. Applicants are only reimbursed for the test if they pass. Florida is the first state to enact such a law. The judge’s injunction will remain until she schedules a full hearing.