National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab 489 U.S. 656

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NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION v. VON RAAB 489 U.S. 656

In this companion case to skinner v. railway labor executives association, the Supreme Court upheld 5–4, the constitutionality of federal regulations requiring urine testing of all Customs employees involved in drug interdiction, carrying weapons, or handling classified materials. Justices antonin scalia and john paul stevens, who had supported the majority in Skinner, joined the Skinner dissenters in this case.

Scalia believed that considerations of public safety and the relation between drugs and accidents had justified the departure from individualized suspicion in Skinner. These considerations did not prevail in this case. No evidence existed to show that Customs employees used drugs, let alone that such use jeopardized the public. Accordingly, the public safety could not be furthered by the urinalysis required of these employees. The search itself, Scalia believed, was "particularly destructive of privacy and offensive to personal dignity." The Court majority, however, remained convinced that the government had a compelling interest in ensuring the physical fitness of the employees required to submit to urine testing.

Leonard W. Levy
(1992)

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National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab 489 U.S. 656

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National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab 489 U.S. 656