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TUCoPS :: Privacy :: acludrug.txt

ACLU denounces drug testing rulings




March 21, 1989

                    Allan Adler or Janlori Goldman (202) 544-1681
                    Art Spitzer or Liz Symonds     (202) 457-0800
                    Loren Seigal                   (212) 944-9800


               ACLU DENOUNCES DRUG TESTING RULINGS

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today said that the
U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in two federal government drug
testing decisions issued this morning "have made the Fourth
Amendment the latest and most senseless casualty of the nation's
so-called `war on drugs.'" 

The decisions, which upheld separate testing programs under
regulations issued by the Customs Service and the Federal
Railroad Administration, explicitly rejected any need for a
judicial warrant or even a finding of individualized reasonable
suspicion of drug or alcohol use to justify mandatory urinalysis
and blood testing requirements for Customs Service employees in
certain sensitive positions and railroad workers following the
occurrence of an accident.

"Although the Court's holdings in these cases ostensibly allow
suspicionless testing only of individuals in certain occupations
and circumstances involving `special needs,'" the ACLU noted,
"the sweeping language of the majority opinion in the railroad
case appears to legitimize such mandatory testing in any area of
employment that the government claims authority to regulate for
`safety-related' reasons." 

"Moreover," the ACLU continued, "the Court's decisions today will
severely undermine personal privacy interests beyond the drug
testing issue.  The majority opinions do nothing less than
rewrite the Fourth Amendment by ignoring traditional restraints
on government search authority and, as Justice Marshall
observed, `eliminating altogether the probable-cause requirement
for civil searches.'" 

In the wake of these decisions, the ACLU will continue its
efforts to fight the spread of government-mandated drug testing
by seeking to distinguish the Court's rulings today as they may
be applied to other occupations and circumstances.  The ACLU will
also urge Congress and state and local legislative bodies to
reject the Court's cramped reading of the Fourth Amendment and to
provide citizens with the traditional protections against
unreasonable searches that have endured through other past
national crises.

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