State has filed petition to U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning losses in challenge brought by ACLU and AFSCME

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737

TALLAHASSEE - Florida Governor Rick Scott has filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a series of court losses in the defense of an executive order mandating that state employees submit to suspicionless drug tests, which was challenged in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida and the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 79.

The January 13th filing, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, asks the court to review a May 2013 decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting the Scott administration’s argument that the state has the authority to require all state employees to submit to invasive and humiliating drug tests as a condition of employment.

ACLU of Florida Staff Attorney Shalini Goel Agarwal said this regarding the filing:

“Every court that has heard the arguments of the governor’s lawyers, defending the policy that treats all those who serve the people of Florida like suspected criminals by requiring them to submit to an invasive search, has rejected them.  Instead of listening to those decisions – and the explicit warning from Judge Ungaro that this argument stands next to no chance of being heard by the Supreme Court – the administration seems to wish to fight to the bitter end to defend this wrongheaded and unconstitutional policy. We are prepared to demonstrate to the U.S. Supreme Court, as it has found before, that the state has no authority to require people to submit their bodily fluids for government inspection and approval without reason or suspicion.”

President of AFSCME Council 79, Jeanette Wynn, stated:

“Once again, Governor Scott is wasting taxpayer dollars on an issue that has already been decided and goes against common sense. The Governor appears to want to continue the attack on hard working men and women of this state, even this close to his re-election bid.  His continued wasting the limited tax dollars of this state is something that the voters of this state will not soon forget.”

The ACLU and AFSCME have 30 days to respond to the state’s petition.

More information about the case is available here:

Gov. Scott’s petition to the Supreme Court comes just two weeks after a decision in another ACLU of Florida challenge to mandatory suspicionless urinalysis, in which a federal court struck down a law championed by Gov. Scott requiring applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) submit to drug tests. More information on that decision is available here:

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