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Sun Mar 4, 2012, 03:45 PM

 

"I have to get drug tested for my job, so why shouldn't people on welfare be tested, too?" [View all]

There are bills afoot in about two-thirds of the states that would require recipients of public benefits (welfare, unemployment, Medicaid, TANF, or combinations of the above) to undergo mandatory, suspicionless drug testing in order to qualify for benefits.

Opinions like the one in the thread title are common are commonly heard in discussing those bills, but I think they betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how our system works. The federal courts have held that forcing a drug test on someone is a search under the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, meaning that it requires either a search warrant or probable cause. The courts have carved out limited exceptions--for police involved in drug law enforcement, for truck drivers and others who impact the public safety, and for students (sorry, kids, fewer rights for you!). But for other than those exceptions, the government needs probable cause to force you to take a drug test.

The federal courts have already ruled mandatory, suspicionless welfare drug testing illegal in a case from Michigan. Similarly, they have ruled the drug testing of elected officials illegal in a case from Georgia (I think). A federal court in Florida earlier this year issued a temporary injunction blocking Florida's welfare testing law, and will, I predict, shortly rule it unconstitutional.

We have constitutional rights that protect us from government overreach. We have no such rights when it comes to our employers. The only rights you gain from your employers are the ones you negotiate. If you have to be drug tested for your job, it's because you let your employer get away with demanding it.

If you think having to submit to drug tests for employment is wrong, your only recourse is to pressure your employer. Having a union to represent you would be helpful.

That is all.

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Reply "I have to get drug tested for my job, so why shouldn't people on welfare be tested, too?" [View all]
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 OP
Sherman A1 Mar 2012 #1
mainer Mar 2012 #2
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 #5
csziggy Mar 2012 #11
newspeak Mar 2012 #36
tsuki Mar 2012 #43
csziggy Mar 2012 #45
Bennyboy Mar 2012 #3
titaniumsalute Mar 2012 #4
mick063 Mar 2012 #6
PearliePoo2 Mar 2012 #21
PavePusher Mar 2012 #31
2ndAmForComputers Mar 2012 #47
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 #48
PavePusher Mar 2012 #49
kestrel91316 Mar 2012 #7
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 #12
2pooped2pop Mar 2012 #18
B Calm Mar 2012 #29
B Calm Mar 2012 #32
unapatriciated Mar 2012 #34
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 #8
The Genealogist Mar 2012 #9
aquart Mar 2012 #10
csziggy Mar 2012 #17
Turbineguy Mar 2012 #13
rustydog Mar 2012 #14
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2012 #20
rustydog Mar 2012 #30
Spanky32 Mar 2012 #15
left is right Mar 2012 #22
ClassWarrior Mar 2012 #16
FarLeftFist Mar 2012 #19
Sparkly Mar 2012 #23
Proud Liberal Dem Mar 2012 #46
B Calm Mar 2012 #24
sce56 Mar 2012 #25
Drahthaardogs Mar 2012 #26
mother earth Mar 2012 #27
B Calm Mar 2012 #28
yellowcanine Mar 2012 #33
mainer Mar 2012 #35
Johonny Mar 2012 #38
cynatnite Mar 2012 #37
Viva Mar 2012 #39
ckimmy57 Mar 2012 #40
iverglas Mar 2012 #41
onethatcares Mar 2012 #42
Proud Liberal Dem Mar 2012 #44
KatyMan Mar 2012 #50
Indiana Mar 2012 #51