A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Florida Governor Rick Scott cannot require all state employees to take random drug tests and told the state to identify which government workers it believes should undergo periodic testing.
Scott, a Republican, issued an executive order in March 2011 ordering drug testing for all state employees, regardless of whether they were suspected of drug use, arguing the measure was similar to financial disclosures required for some workers.
He later suspended the order, which has been challenged in court by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The decision by the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sends the case back to a U.S. District Court in Miami for further consideration.
In a ruling last year, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro tossed out Scott’s executive order, saying random drug tests of the state’s 85,000 state workers violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.
Scott appealed the decision and argued that “state employees possessed a diminished privacy interest.” A state law Scott supported requiring drug tests for welfare recipients has also been tied up in the courts.
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