MIAMI, FL – A years-long battle over the right of poor Floridians to be free from invasive government searches ended in victory today as Florida officials decided not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a federal court ruling striking down a law mandating that applicants for the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program submit to suspicionless drug tests.
The ACLU of Florida filed a lawsuit challenging the law, championed by Florida Governor Rick Scott, shortly after it went into effect in 2011, and a federal court declared it unconstitutional shortly thereafter, holding that the law violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable government searches. In December 2014, a three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s final ruling. The deadline for the state to submit a petition for writ of certiorari appealing that decision to the United States Supreme Court was March 3.
Today, the ACLU of Florida received confirmation from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office that the Solicitor General did not appeal the ruling before yesterday’s deadline. As a result, the 11th Circuit ruling will remain in effect.
Randall Berg, Executive Director of the Florida Justice Institute, and co-counsel with the ACLU, stated:
The 4th Amendment is alive and well in Florida despite the Governor’s best efforts to the contrary.