Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he does not disapprove of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to drug-test state workers. The former Massachusetts governor declined to say, however, that he is a big fan of the idea.
A reporter for the local Fox affiliate in Tampa asked Romney in an interview Wednesday if states should have the right to test public sector workers for drugs, and if the federal government should do the same.
“The states have rights under their constitution to do what they think is best,” Romney said. “The governor here is trying an idea, and I’m not going to disagree with Governor Scott. The idea of people being tested is something, which, we’ll see what the results are.”
So far, the results have been one constitutional smackdown after another from courts.
Last year, Scott issued an executive order requiring suspicionless drug testing for some 80,000 state workers in Florida. The order drew an immediate court challenge from labor and civil liberties groups arguing that indiscriminately forcing state workers to pee in cups violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure.
Scott suspended his order while the judiciary considered the challenge. In April, a federal judge deemed the testing unconstitutional. “The [executive order] does not identify a concrete danger that must be addressed by suspicionless drug-testing of state employees, and the governor shows no evidence of a drug use problem at the covered agencies,” the judge wrote.
It was the second time federal courts have found Scott’s drug testing ambitions unconstitutional. Last fall, a different federal judge issued an injunction against a 2011 law that required welfare applicants to pass drug tests in order to receive benefits. Scott’s administration is appealing the first injunction and has vowed to appeal the April decision as well.
Romney was much less enthusiastic about drug testing on Tuesday than he was during the Republican primary in February, when he called drug-testing welfare recipients “an excellent idea.”
Republicans in several states have sought to copy Florida’s welfare drug testing law, despite its questionable constitutionality, and scant evidence that welfare recipients are on drugs or that the policy saves money.
Personally I have serious problems with anyone employee of any state, company or organization being forced to take drug tests…. not that there may not be a concur as there in fact might be.. but it infringes on the individual liberties and civil rights of individuals to be able to do as they chose when not in the work place. I have been witnessing over the last 10 – 20 yeas a constant assault on individual freedoms and rights in this country and I am fearful that this continued curtailing of these constitutional freedoms will destroy this country. I can make a reasonable argument for taking away rights for anything.. but that does not mean it is right … this has to stop somewhere…. I don’t want to make too much of an association with Nazi Germany but it did start in a similar way… the poem goes to show how political apathy can kill a society and it is done one step at a time.. if you are not afraid for our counrty after reading this…. then you are blissfully ignorant of the consequences for the continued assaut of our constitutional rights :
“First they came for my neighbor, and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to stand with me.”
The “neighbor” quote is loosely based on the many variations of the famous poem attributed to Martin Niemöller:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist..
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no-one left
to speak out.
[When the Nazis Came for Me
by Pastor Martin Niemöller]
goes something like this: