A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary ban on a law requiring drug testing of Florida welfare recipients.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Tuesday ruled that a lower court was right to temporarily halt enforcement of the drug-testing program. The opinion said the state of Florida hadn't shown a "substantial special need" for such mandatory drug testing.
Florida officials have argued that testing is necessary because it would deter drug use by those receiving welfare. Opponents say drug testing as a condition of getting welfare benefits is an unconstitutional search and seizure.
Gov. Rick Scott, who argued for the ban a couple years ago, called the court’s ruling disturbing.
"Welfare is 100 percent about helping children. Welfare is taxpayer money to help people looking for jobs who have children," Scott said in a news release.
"Drug use by anyone with children looking for a job is totally destructive. This is fundamentally about protecting the well-being of Florida families. We will protect children and families in our state, and this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.”
Tuesday's opinion was authored by Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett. She was the first woman to sit on the Florida Supreme Court and was the state's first female Chief Justice.
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