Federal Court Upholds Florida Welfare Drug Test Ban

Welfare Drug Testing Temporary Ban Upheld In Florida

A federal court has upheld a temporary ban on welfare drug testing, CBS Tampa Bay reported on Tuesday, February 26.

Eleventh US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote that “there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a ‘concrete danger’ that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use,” in her official ruling.

Supporters of welfare drug testing did so under claims that drug use prevented the purposes set forth by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) law.

Those purposes: to ensure family stability and child welfare.

Opponents, however, argued that “drug testing as a condition of getting welfare benefits is an unconstitutional search and seizure,” according to the CBS report.

The Wall Street Journal noted on Tuesday that the decision cast doubt “on a handful of similar laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures in 2012.”

Nevertheless, Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has vowed to take the decision to the US Supreme Court.

“Drug use by anyone with children looking for a job is totally destructive. This is fundamentally about protecting the well-being of Florida families,” Scott said in an email to WSJ.

In 2011, a federal judge halted welfare drug testing in Florida. That has not stopped states from all over the US, most recently in Indiana, from adopting similar laws.

Do you think it’s fair that employees are subject to drug testing and welfare recipients are not? What are your thoughts on today’s federal appeals court decision?

[Image via ShutterStock]