ORLANDO — A federal judge has ruled that a 2011 law requiring welfare applicants to undergo drug tests is unconstitutional, striking a blow to Gov. Rick Scott’s administration over the controversial tests.
Scott quickly said he would appeal U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven’sTuesday ruling, the latest defeat for the governor in a drawn-out battle over drug testing some of the state’s poorest residents.
Scriven ruled that the urine tests violate the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.
In a harshly worded, 30-page opinion, Scriven concluded that “there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.”
Scott, who used the mandatory drug tests as a campaign issue, insists that the urine tests are needed to make sure poor children don’t grow up in drug-riddled households.