Rick Scott’s Party is Over

The days of drug testing welfare recipients in the state of Florida, of which only 2 percent have tested positive, are at an end.

A U.S. district judge on Monday ordered an injunction on a Florida law requiring welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving state benefits.

An ACLU lawsuit filed in September claimed the Florida law violates the Fourth Amendment by requiring welfare applicants to submit to a “suspicionless” drug test. The suit was filed on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Orlando resident and Navy veteran who applied for welfare benefits but refused to take the drug test. [...]

“… the state provides scant evidence that rampant drug abuse exists among this class of individuals,” Judge Mary Scriven writes in the court order.

“The constitutional rights of a class of citizens are at stake, and the Constitution dictates that the needs asserted to justify subverting those rights must be special, as the case law defines that term, in order for this exception to the Fourth Amendment to apply. … That showing has not been made on this record.”

Governor Rick Scott's justification for his drug-testing program has been that welfare recipients use drugs more often than others, and that testing them promotes "personal responsibility," and today Judge Mary Scriven essentially called bullshit on that notion.

Why don't we drug test CEOs and executives instead? After all, they're also being handed money by the state in the form of tax cuts, and I'm certain their rate of drug use is far higher than people who can barely afford to eat.

Of course that will never happen, and like the drug-testing of welfare recipients is probably unconstitutional, but stock-optioned, capital gains-fueled, corporate drug addicts seem more plausible to me than welfare-funded drug addicts.

  • muselet

    Drug-testing applicants for public assistance is an extension of the Reagan-era distinction between the “deserving poor” and the “undeserving poor.” Reagan only accused the poor of gaming the system; Rick Scott’s nasty twist is the implicit accusation of being a drug addict.

    The fact that Scott—no, excuse me, his wife (he transferred his ownership stake to her)—owns a company that does drug testing is mere coincidence. Uh-huh.


    • OsborneInk

      That distinction is far older than Ronald Reagan. “Deserving poor” was an element of social Darwinism in 19th Century British politics.

      • muselet

        True enough.

        Now I think about it, Reagan was something of an anomaly: his (untrue, or at least exaggerated beyond recognition) anecdotes about Cadillac-driving Welfare Queens (and “young bucks” feasting on T-bone steaks) were used merely to accuse the poor of being devious. Rick Scott and the Social Darwinists accuse the poor of being morally unfit.

        Who’d have thought The Happy Hooligan would be a moderate on social welfare?


        (Incidentally, Charles Darwin greatly resented Herbert Spencer’s associating his name with a political position he found distasteful.)

        • Brutlyhonest

          By his (their) choice of words, the accusation wasn’t that all poor were devious, just the dark-skinned ones.

        • OsborneInk

          Oh, there’s nothing Darwinian about social Darwinism. Even Darwin knew that.


    Incidentally, this issue partly touches on why I hate the two political parties.

    ALL of our Federally elected officials mix with these people. All of them. You don’t have to be Republican to turn a blind eye to the sick crap that goes on in New York, and specifically, on Wall Street. All you have to do is be desperate enough for some campaign cash.

    I wonder, do our elected officials have to take drug tests? If not, shouldn’t they be at the top of the list? Do we really want someone high on coke writing legislation? It’s a wonder it hasn’t been suggested if they don’t already have to pass a test.

    Then again, no…it’s not a wonder.

    • JMAshby

      You’re correct to a point, but only one of the major parties is holding back higher taxes on the rich from becoming reality. And it’s not the Democrats.

      Look at legislative history and what has been proposed by either party in just the last 3 years and you will see major differences.

      Look at what’s actually on the record, not merely who they’re shooting the shit with at fundraising dinners.


    “Why don’t we drug test CEOs and executives instead? After all, they’re also being handed money by the state in the form of tax cuts, and I’m certain their rate of drug use is far higher than people who can barely afford to eat.”

    If the shareholders of these companies only knew how many of these CEO’s and COO’s, along with company officers are sick, twisted individuals, Wall Street would crash to 25% of its current value as quickly as current market rules allow. Drugs are the least of the things you’d find with some of these creeps. DSK was at the tame end of that spectrum. Many of them don’t have merely a singular appetite for money. An appetite that large needs many other outlets. I’ll leave you to your imaginations on that.

    Most of the morons acting as CEO’s are nothing more than babysitters for long-established corporations. The idea that you have to pay millions for a babysitter is ridiculous. Somehow, once a company goes public, there is a universal belief that the company money belongs to the board, most of who serve on not just one board, but on multiple boards. Many of these people collect hundreds of thousands of dollars simply for being on a corporate board, and attending one to two board meetings a year. It’s common to see several of the same members of the board of one corp on the board of another,

    What happens when all of these people become familiar with each other? Again, use your imagination.

    • JMAshby

      Something we can agree on. Bravo.

      “It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it.”

  • schemata

    Now he’ll have to find another way to funnel tax-payer money to himself and his friends.