Court Issues Orders and Hears Drug Testing Case 

Court Issues Orders and Hears Drug Testing Case 
Posted by FoM on October 02, 2000 at 17:58:27 PT
By Charles Lane, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Returning from their summer recess, the justices of the Supreme Court this morning heard oral arguments in a case that will decide whether courts should be allowed to overturn an arbitrator's award reinstating a coal truck driver to his job after he twice tested positive for drugs.The case, Eastern Associated Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of America, opened a term that will be studded with issues raised by the war on drugs. 
In future cases, the court will decide whether a hospital can refer pregnant women who test positive for drugs for prosecution; whether police can set up roadblocks where drug-sniffing dogs search cars and whether police can point a heat-seeking device at a home to detect equipment used to grow marijuana without first obtaining a search warrant.Today, the coal company argued that the arbitrator's award would violate public policy by letting repeat drug offenders operate potentially dangerous heavy equipment. The justices bombarded the coal company's attorney, John Roberts Jr., with skeptical questions.They seemed uncertain whether to allow a possibly elastic exception to the usual enforcement of collective bargaining agreements that provide for arbitration of disputes between employees and employers."The indeterminacy of all this is what bothers a lot of us," said Justice David Souter.The case involved a worker who twice tested positive for marijuana and was suspended by the company. An arbitrator reinstated him after he argued that he had a clean 17-year record and had suffered personal problems before his second positive test.The court also rejected many of the more than 1,000 cases that had been filed over the summer. Among those that were rejected by the court without comment this morning included:* The case of a Kansas youth suspended from school for three days after he drew a picture of a Confederate flag. The court turned away arguments that the suspension violated the youth's freedom of speech and other constitutionally protected rights.* An appeal by ExxonMobil Corp. to free the company from having to pay $5 billion in damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The nation's highest court let stand the award stemming from the tanker spill that polluted more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, killed tens of thousands of birds and marine mammals and disrupted fishing.* A lawsuit against America Online by subscribers who accused the Internet company of imposing unjust charges and failing to protect customer privacy. The court turned down the subscribers' argument that Chantilly, Va.-based AOL should be considered a "common carrier" that can be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.* A call to reinstate the California fraud convictions of financier Charles Keating, a symbol of the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s. The justices let stand rulings that threw out Keating's convictions because of faulty instructions to the jury.Wire services contributed to this report.Source: Washington Post (DC) Published: Monday , October 2, 2000Author: Charles Lane, Washington Post Staff WriterContact: letterstoed washpost.comAddress: 1150 15th Street NorthwestWashington, DC 20071 2000 The Washington Post Company Website: Related Articles & Web Site:Supreme Court Web Site Supreme Court Term To Focus on Fourth Amendment Court To Review Roadblocks Protection Leads Court Agenda To Examine Police Power CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #1 posted by EdC on October 03, 2000 at 02:10:49 PT
Supreme Court
It's a shame that the Constitution holds no sway in courts other than the Supreme Court. It would be nice to be able to say 'I did it because I have the right to do it. Now leave me alone.' 
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