They Ain't Gonna Pee-Pee in No Cup


Yesterday the Washington Supreme Court unanimously ruled that random drug testing of student athletes violates the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld random testing not only of athletes but of students participating in other extracurricular activities as well, and its logic (such as it is) suggests that random testing of all students also would be consistent with the Fourth Amendment. But Washington's constitution has a privacy guarantee that goes beyond the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, saying, "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law." The state Supreme Court has read this clause as providing more protection than the Fourth Amendment, which is why Washington is one of the few states without drunk driving roadblocks. It also seems to be a pretty strong argument against the state law that makes it a felony to place an online bet in the privacy of one's home. 

The Washington Supreme Court ruling on student drug testing is here. A couple months ago, I noted that Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire wants to hop on the sobriety checkpoint bandwagon, despite the state Supreme Court's ruling that suspicionless traffic stops violate the constitution she has sworn to uphold. A challenge to Washington's gambling law, based on arguments that it conflicts with the federal Wire Act and the Commerce Clause, is scheduled to be heard next month.

Washington is not the only state where residents enjoy more privacy protection than the Fourth Amendment (as currently read) guarantees. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, for example, has taken a dimmer view of student drug testing than the U.S. Supreme Court. The Alaska Supreme Court has interpreted the state constitution's privacy clause, which says the "right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed," as prohibiting prosecution of people for possessing small amounts of marijuana at home. It has approved drug testing of police and firefighters applying for promotion or transfer but has ruled that random testing of police and firefighters is unconstitutional.

[Thanks to sage and Jim Anderson for the tip.]