Appeals Court Strikes Down Drug Testing Law 

Appeals Court Strikes Down Drug Testing Law 
Posted by FoM on December 29, 1999 at 07:54:10 PT
By Alan Clendenning, Associated Press Writer 
Source: NOLA Live
Louisiana's law requiring random drug tests for elected officials is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled, rejecting arguments that citizens need protection from drug-abusing lawmakers. But Gov. Mike Foster, a key supporter, will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, said his spokeswoman, Marsanne Golsby. 
The law, originally scheduled to go in effect in January, 1998, was part of a drug-testing package described as one of the most sweeping ever passed in the country. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a federal district judge who struck down the law last year, calling Judge Eldon Fallon's decision "complete and well-crafted." Fallon said the law violated the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizures. He also said state officials failed to show a special need to test elected officials. The law required 10 percent of all state and local officials to be randomly tested each year. Officials who refused would have faced fines of $10,000 and censure. Under the law, results of the a first round of drug tests would have been kept private. When drugs were detected, second tests would have been administered within six months. If they showed positive signs of drugs, the officials' identities would have become public. The ruling was no surprise to William Rittenberg, the lawyer who represented state Rep. Arthur Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat, in the suit against the law. Rittenberg said Foster and others wasted public money by passing and defending the law because the U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled that candidates for public office cannot be tested for drugs. "This wasn't a case that required any deep thinking," Rittenberg said. "I think any reasonable lawyer knew the Supreme Court had already decided this issue." Published: December 29, 1999 Copyright 1999 Associated Press.
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Comment #4 posted by rob on March 20, 2000 at 14:09:36 PT:
We are sick!!!
  This country has gone to hell. Everthing that we say we stand for, we no longer do. The constitution has been ripped to shreads by polititions catering to insurance organizations and other big time corporate interest groups. With every law that is passed, a small part of our freedom slips away. Reagon's "war on drugs and zero tolerance" polices have completly wiped out citizens rights in this nation. To use the words "suspicion or suspicious looking or suspicious activety" as the soul legal venue for searching a US citizen is to give law enforcement the right to search anyone at will. When our legislative and judicial branches cleared the way for buisness's to demand urine samples to determine drug use in the work force, they all conspired to violate our guaranteed 4th amendment right in the constitution to protect citizens against unreasonable search and seisure. The Reagan and Bush administrations are to blame for destroying citizens rights. It is not that they pandered to these special interest groups, but rather, they were representitives from these powerful corporate conglomerates. They were chosen, paid for and supported by the insurance industries in order for them to gain the legal leverage they needed against the US citizens, to maintain thier wealth and power over our nations future...and they did theior job.  I would advocate mandatory drug testing of individuals injured on the job, as a tool for insurance companies to prove that an illegal substance was to blame for an "on the job" injury they were obligated to pay for. However, the presence of an illicit drug within ones body is not proof enough that it played a role in, or was even a factor to such an incident. It should be up to the insurer to show proof BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the illicit drug played a role, before action can be taken. If it is proven, then the individual responsible for the injuries to himself or anyone else on the job should not only be liable for the damages, but subject to legal charges as well. To give authority over our rights to the work industry, and label a common working citizen unfit to work, solely on the basis of these mandatory tests, digs at the core of what this nation used to be about. These drug tests don't have to prove that a drug in someones system has effected an individuals performance, therefore, their results accomplish nothing. Until the time that these tests are relinguished as unconstitutional, and new laws are put into place requiring drug tests only after an incident, FOR EVERY EMPLOYEE IN EVERY INCIDENT, the people of the United States are being exploited and illegal searched by our government, our insurance agencies, and our employers.  I think it is only fair to tell those who read this that , while I am no advocate for casual illicit drug use, I do smoke marijuana occasionally, have smoked it for over 20 years, have been tested at least five times and have passed all these tests, some only with the help of detoxicants. I never smoke before or during work or engage in even nominally dangerous activity after smoking on my off time. I have never been in a major automobile accident. I have never collected workmans compensation and I have never injured myself (excluding minor injuries) or anyone else on the job.  Drug use in the work place has not gone down, as much as statistics show. People have learned to hide it better, and I'm sure thats just fine with the insurance companies who have created these laws. Their only motivation is greed, not safety. They now benefit from this new buisness of drug tests, don't have to pay injury claims if someone tests positive for drugs, and benefit again when an employee is sent to drug rehabilitation. I wouldn't even be surprised if insurance agencies are covertly in control of the anti- drug testing kit industry also, lapping up every last dollar they can at the expense of the common folk's constitutionally protected rights of the 4th amendment. Shame on you and shame on us for letting it happen.... We are all sick.
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Comment #3 posted by GOODY on January 01, 2000 at 23:54:08 PT:
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Comment #2 posted by Happy on December 30, 1999
 at 01:31:58 PT
Get Paid to Test Positive
Demand just compenstaion for testing clean. Even if it is a legal search, you deserve restitution.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on December 29, 1999
 at 17:31:56 PT
Now, let me get this straight...
A politician does not have to be tested for drugs? Why? Anyone else who is in a 'critical' job is. A politician is in a unique position; with the stroke of a pen he can cause wholesale misery - like the War on (Some) Drugs. He can create roadblocks to justice. He can perpetuate corruption. He can make laws that can have disastrous effects on our national security. And, with this automatic presumption of being above suspicion, he then turns around and demands that *we* abide by laws he refuses to adhere to.And he doesn't have to be tested for drugs?'Some animals are more equal than others.' - Animal Farm
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