Letters to the editor – Sunday (11-20-11)
Workers have choice
on taking drug test
A recent letter about drug testing for welfare recipients included this statement: ěIf you can suspend the Constitution for someone who wants to flip burgers, then you can do the same for someone who is a parent.î
This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of who our Constitution restricts. The powers granted by the Constitution and the limits it imposes are on the government, not citizens. There is no constitutional issue if McDonalds wants to test its burger flippers for drugs. It is a condition of employment and you can take the job or not.
The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution states: ěThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.î This limits the government in how it may search an individual. Some claim, like it or not, suddenly requiring someone to take and pass a drug test to continue the welfare they have been receiving violates this prohibition.
However, no one has a right, constitutional or otherwise, to receive welfare. People can and do surrender their Fourth Amendment right all the time. Each time you go into a courthouse or board an airplane you voluntarily surrender your right not to be search. When you drive your car on the public road, you give an implied consent to be tested (searched) for impairment, e.g. drugs or alcohol.
If the law required testing as a condition of receiving welfare, recipients would be free to refuse both the test and the welfare, or they could voluntarily surrender their right not to be searched and receive the welfare. If this violates the Constitution, then all those implied consent laws must be in violation as well.
ó Rexx Shelton
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