1989 March 21

Mandatory Drug Testing for Federal Employees Held Constitutional

 

In the case of Treasury Employees v. Von Raab, decided on this day, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory drug testing for federal employees is constitutional and does not violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. See Board of Education v. Earls, decided on June 27, 2002, for the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of mandatory drug testing of high school and middle school students.

The Court: “In light of evidence demonstrating that there is a national crisis in law enforcement caused by the smuggling of illicit narcotics, the Government has a compelling interest in ensuring that front-line interdiction personnel are physically fit and have unimpeachable integrity and judgment. It also has a compelling interest in preventing the risk to the life of the citizenry posed by the potential use of deadly force by persons suffering from impaired perception and judgment. These governmental interests outweigh the privacy interests of those seeking promotion to such positions, who have a diminished expectation of privacy in respect to the intrusions occasioned by a urine test by virtue of the special, and obvious, physical and ethical demands of the positions.”

Listen to the oral arguments in the case: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_86_1879

Learn more about mandatory drug testing: https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/drug-testing

And more about mandatory drug testing from the Drug Policy Alliance: http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-testing-policies

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