Court Blocks La. Drug Tests 

Court Blocks La. Drug Tests 
Posted by FoM on June 29, 2000 at 09:28:26 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Guardian Unlimited
The Supreme Court refused to let a state require its elected officials to undergo random drug testing. The court, acting without comment Thursday, rejected an appeal by Louisiana officials that said such random tests do not violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches because the state has ``special needs'' to deter drug use. 
In 1997, the justices ruled in a Georgia case that states cannot force political candidates to take drug tests merely to demonstrate the government's commitment to the war on drugs. That same year, Louisiana enacted a law requiring elected state officials, except for judges, to undergo random drug tests to ensure they ``are persons of integrity, sound judgment, reliability and seriousness of purpose.'' The officials are to be tested for illegal drugs including marijuana, opiates, cocaine and amphetamines. Test results would be disclosed only to the elected official and a representative of the state Board of Ethics. Officials who fail would be required to take a second test. If that test also indicates illegal drug use, the official would face a public hearing, possible censure and a fine of up to $10,000. The law was challenged in federal court by Avery C. Alexander and Arthur A. Morrell, state lawmakers representing Orleans Parish. A federal judge struck down the testing program as unconstitutional, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in late 1998. ``The public's interest in preventing drug abuse among elected officials, while not insignificant, cannot supersede one of the Constitution's most fundamental proscriptions,'' the appeals court said. The Constitution's Fourth Amendment generally bans searches not based on ``probable cause'' to suspect a crime. But in previous rulings, the Supreme Court has allowed random searches for railroad workers and U.S. Customs agents who enforce anti-drug laws, citing public health and safety. The court also has allowed random drug testing of student athletes in public schools because of the national concern over drug use by youngsters. In the appeal acted on Thursday, Louisiana's lawyers acknowledged there had been no proof that state officials had abused drugs. But they said elected officials ``must be beyond reproach'' regarding drug abuse, and that there was a ``real and concrete danger'' that drug use would harm their judgment and official acts. The lawmakers' attorneys said the appeals court ruling was correct. ``Louisiana says it is joining the drug war; that's not a reason to deprive people of their Fourth Amendment protections,'' the lawyers said. The case is Louisiana v. O'Neill, 99-1552. On the Net: For the appeals court ruling in O'Neill v. Louisiana: and click on 5th Circuit. Washington (AP) Published: Thursday June 29, 2000 Guardian Unlimited  Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000Related Article:Appeals Court Strikes Down Drug Testing Law Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #7 posted by concerned on July 30, 2000 at 23:30:20 PT
political asylum
how insane!! elected officials are excused from random drug testing because it violates their rights?? they are the first people that should be tested. these are the people who make the laws. they should definitely be subjected to random testing.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 30, 2000 at 09:59:40 PT
Harris - Excite Poll
Hi Everyone, Here is a poll that I thought we might want to vote on!Should states be allowed to conduct random drug testing on elected officials?
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 30, 2000 at 05:54:39 PT:
Holier than thou
The arrogance of Federal officials never ceases to amaze me. The Congress can claim exemption from the laws they pass for the rest of us. The Judges demand that they be allowed to interpret the meaning of the most basic phrases encompassing the Constitution, as if we needed translators to decipher a foreign language. And they do so with such breathtaking selectivity that it beggars the mind: ``The public's interest in preventing drug abuse among elected officials, while not insignificant, cannot supersede one of the Constitution's most fundamentalproscriptions,'' the appeals court said. 'Translation: the Fourth Amendment only pertains to the populace, not it's *servants*. *They* are exempt from any requirement to adhere to the laws the rest of us suffer daily infringements of. Given that, last year, a sitting judge was found to be shooting up with heroin in her chambers - before presiding over drug court for her supplier - I can see why some judges want to maintain such a tidy little exclusion. Ever wonder why so many judicial decisions seem to fly in the face of rationality? Perhaps it is simply because they, themselves are indulging in forbidden alkaloids before rendering their judgments? Other than pandemic anoxia, it's the only reason I can come up with for such craziness. 
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Comment #4 posted by zion on June 30, 2000 at 03:39:34 PT
Where's the media coverage?
How come this Supreme Court decision didn't get media coverage on the national news? It's rather significant, and would have helped highlight the cracks in the "zero-tolerance" drug-free society jihad that has created a multi-million dollar drug testing industry in the U.S.
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 29, 2000 at 17:36:50 PT
Not in my backyard
The idea of "Not me but it's okay for you" creates contempt for government. It's really sad. If these guys really believed in the best interest of the people they would do it on themselves.
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Comment #2 posted by Dan Hillman on June 29, 2000 at 12:08:29 PT
wanna take drugs without testing worries?
Become a politician. Or a police officer. Politician...police...ever notice how close those words are?
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Comment #1 posted by Mari on June 29, 2000 at 11:15:34 PT
My,my,it seems it's OK to test the 'peasants'but not the 'ruling class'.I love the way judges weren't included in the original law!Guess we don't need to be concerned if they "are persons of integrity,sound judgement,reliability and seriousness of purpose".Do you think if judges and DA's and lawyers had to pee for their jobs this charade would fold?I can just see Federal Marshalls blocking the doors to Congress and announcing a 'random piss test' for everyone!The crys of Fourth Amendment violation would be deafening!None of the laws they pass ever seem to apply to them.
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