Thursday, December 04, 2014

Yesterday was ACLU day at the 11th Circuit

Two big wins for the ACLU yesterday on drug testing and gay marriage, which means 1) no more unlimited drug testing on those applying for temporary assistance and 2) gay marriage to start in Florida on January 5.

1.  Lebron v. DCF, per Judge Marcus:
A Florida statute mandates suspicionless drug testing of all applicants seeking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”) benefits. See Fla. Stat. § 414.0652. Luis Lebron sued the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families (the “State”), claiming that the statute violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, applied against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. After we affirmed the entry of a preliminary injunction barring the application of the statute against Lebron, the State halted the drug-testing program. See Lebron v. Sec’y, Fla. Dep’t of Children & Families (Lebron I), 710 F.3d 1202 (11th Cir. 2013). Since then, the district court granted final summary judgment to Lebron, declared § 414.0652 unconstitutional, and permanently enjoined its enforcement.
We affirm. On this record, the State has failed to meet its burden of establishing a substantial special need to drug test all TANF applicants without any suspicion. Even viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the State has not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique, or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population. The ordinary government interests claimed in this case are nothing like the narrow category of special needs that justify blanket drug testing of railroad workers, certain federal Customs employees involved in drug interdiction or who carry firearms, or students who participate in extracurricular activities because those programs involve “surpassing safety interests,” Skinner v. Railway Labor Execs. Ass’n, 489 U.S. 602, 634 (1989), or “close supervision of school children,” Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, 655 (1995) (quoting New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 339 (1985)).
Moreover, as we held in Lebron I, the State cannot circumvent constitutional concerns by requiring that applicants consent to a drug test to receive TANF payments. When a government benefit is conditioned on suspicionless drug testing, the voluntariness of the program is properly viewed as a factor baked into the special needs reasonableness analysis, not as an exception to it.

2.  Brennan v. Armstrong, per curiam (Hull Wilson, Jordan): 
In November 18, 2014, the Appellants in the above appeals, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services, and the Clerk of Court of Washington County (collectively, Appellants), jointly filed a Motion to Extend Stay of Preliminary Injunctions Pending Appeal and for Expedited Treatment of This Motion (the Motion). Appellees James Domer Brenner, et al., and Appellees Sloan Grimsley, et al., filed separate responses in opposition to the Motion. Appellants’ request for expedited review of the Motion is granted. Having reviewed and fully considered the Motion, the parties’ briefs, and the orders issued  by the District Court in the proceedings below, the Court hereby denies Appellants’ Motion. The stay of preliminary injunctions entered by the District Court expires at the end of the day on January 5, 2015.

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