The Tea Party promised freedom from government but it hasn’t exactly delivered on its promise. Tea Party favorite Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, wanted to require all welfare recipients in the state to submit urine samples to make sure they weren’t abusing drugs (presumably because, in his mind, if you’re on welfare you’re likely a drug addict). Turns out there’s a little problem with that plan, and it’s called the United States Constitution:
In a blistering 37-page opinion (PDF) issued late Monday night, federal court Judge Mary Scriven put a halt to the tea-party Republican’s marquee plan, concluding that “the wholesale, suspicionless drug testing of all applicants” for Florida’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) constituted an unreasonable search in violation of the 4th Amendment. It’s just the latest setback for Scott, who’s recently come under fire for pooh-poohing non-business majors, collecting cut-rate health insurance, cutting support to the disabled, building himself a military hall-of-fame, and imploding on a live cable news show.
“Though the State speaks in generalities about the ‘public health risk, as well as the crime risk, associated with drugs’ being ‘beyond dispute,’ it provides no concrete evidence that those risks are any more present in TANF applicants than in the greater population,” Scriven wrote in her ruling against Florida’s government. “It is not enough to simply recite a governmental interest without any evidence of a concrete threat that would be mitigated through drug testing.”
The state ACLU and the Florida Justice Institute filed the suit on behalf of one Luis Lebron, who refused to pay for the $10-to-$82 urinalysis that would have proven that he was drug-free.
The Tea Party never believed in individual freedom – it believed in the freedom of a certain subset of individuals (aka the Tea Party) to legislate their interests/beliefs on the rest of us.