Management & Labor

In Fight to Drug Test Public Workers, Florida Governor Wants U.S. Supreme Court to Join

Gov. Rick Scott intends to take his fight for random drug tests of tens of thousands of state employees all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a lawyer for the Republican governor told a federal judge Thursday.
September 20, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott intends to take his fight for random drug tests of tens of thousands of state employees all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, a lawyer for the Republican governor told a federal judge Thursday.

But Charles Trippe, who was previously Scott's general counsel and is now in private practice, could not persuade U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro to delay further proceedings in the case while the state appeals. Ungaro said she did not want to become "a political tool" in the controversial issue — and she also said Scott has "probably about zero" chance of winning a Supreme Court case.

"I just don't think it has likelihood of success," said Ungaro, who previously declared Scott's January 2011 drug-testing executive order an unconstitutional violation of the workers' privacy rights.

The case affecting some 85,000 state employees as well as many job applicants is back before Ungaro because the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded her April 2012 ruling in was too broad. The appeals court said in May of this year that some workers can legitimately be tested — such as those in law enforcement and sensitive safety jobs — and Ungaro planned to appoint a special master to come up with a proposed list of those positions.

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