ACLU of Florida Statement on TANF Drug Testing Oral Arguments

November 1, 2012

ACLU of Florida Media Office, 786-363-2737,

ATLANTA, GA - This morning, oral arguments were heard in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in the state of Florida’s appeal of a lower court decision halting enforcement of a 2011 state law mandating suspicionless drug tests of applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In the case, Lebron vs. Wilkins, the ACLU of Florida challenged the drug testing program on behalf of Luis Lebron, an Navy veteran and single father living in Orlando who applied for temporary assistance in July 2011, to support his 4 year-old son. US. District Judge Mary Scriven halted enforcement of the law on October 24, 2011, stating that the compelled drug testing is a search under the Fourth Amendment and requires reasonable suspicion.

The following statement may be attributed to Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU of Florida and lead counsel in the case:

“We thank the Court of Appeals for the opportunity to argue in defense of the Fourth Amendment rights of TANF applicants. As we stated before the lower court, government cannot treat an entire group of citizens like suspected criminals and subject them to invasive and suspicionless searches without cause. Individuals do not lose their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches simply because they need some extra assistance to make ends meet for their families. We look forward to the court’s decision in this case.”

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