Drug Policy

A Clean Page

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Last week a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously ruled (PDF) that the pre-employment drug testing policy of the Woodburn Library in Woodburn, Oregon, violates the Fourth Amendment. The court said the city of Woodburn, which runs the library, had not demonstrated any "special need" that would override a would-be page's reasonable expectation of privacy. The court rejected the city's claim that the position of library page is "safety-sensitive" (citations omitted):

Jobs are considered safety-sensitive if they involve work that may pose a great danger to the public, such as the operation of railway cars, the armed interdiction of illegal drugs, work in a nuclear power facility, work involving matters of national security, work involving the operation of natural gas and liquified natural gas pipelines, work in the aviation industry, and work involving the operation of dangerous instrumentalities, such as trucks that weigh more than 26,000 pounds, that are used to transport hazardous materials, or that carry more than fourteen passengers at a time. The work of a page, so far as the record discloses, entails nothing of this order of magnitude.

I don't know about that. If you put an oversized book on the wrong shelf, it could fall off and hit somebody's head. I bet that would smart.

The 9th Circuit relied largely on a 1997 case in which the Supreme Court overturned a Georgia requirement that candidates for public office undergo urine tests, which the Court viewed as a purely symbolic measure. By contrast, the Court has upheld suspicionless drug testing for railroad workers and for people seeking Customs Service positions that involve carrying a gun, handling classified material, or participating in drug interdiction. Based on a more paternalistic rationale, the Court also has held that public schools may constitutionally require students participating in sports or other extracurricular activities to surrender their urine. Woodburn tried to combine the safety and for-the-children arguments by noting that children use the library and pages sometimes fill in at the youth services desk. The appeals court did not buy it, but I think the Supreme Court might.

[via NORML]

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  1. I think the Supreme Court might.

    Scalia will find a handwritten draft of the Constitution somewhere that has “Drugs are bad, mm-kay” written in the margin.

  2. Isn’t the Constitution (including, presumably, the super-secret copies in Scalia’s basement) written on hemp paper?

  3. Isn’t the Constitution (including, presumably, the super-secret copies in Scalia’s basement) written on hemp paper?

    The next Obama attack ad: “Vote for known drug abuser Obama and he’ll smoke the Constitution.”

  4. Isn’t the Constitution (including, presumably, the super-secret copies in Scalia’s basement) written on hemp paper?

    Alert the DEA once people start writing things on hemp paper that’s the gateway to writing things on the outside of crack viles.

  5. Damn you Adamness you type faster the me.

  6. What did one congressman say to the other?

    “What page are you on?”

  7. Man, Woodburn’s great for so many reasons. It’s the perfect confluence of oldies and illegals, so it’s super-fun to live there and you get to listen to bluehairs talk about how downtown looks like Tijuana.

    I highly recommend it, lived there for 5 blissful years.

  8. The 9th Circuit relied largely on a 1997 case in which the Supreme Court overturned a Georgia requirement that candidates for public office undergo urine tests

    Hmm, the one kind of drug testing I can get behind. Only candidates for public office should be drug tested. Even if we repeal all the drug laws.

  9. As a librarian, I have to note that even if a heavy book is placed on the correct shelf it could still fall and injure someone. And my hours at the reference desk would be so much easier if I knew which library users were on something (and which something.) So I guess the testing should be for librarians, pages, and the users as well. And if the cataloging department starts to place everything under 781.646, then it’s time for additional testing.

  10. Why Paul? To make sure they are taking enough?

    We definitely don’t want them sober, see where that has gotten us.

  11. As a former page who frequently showed up to work drunk (if it all..fuck it’s a boring, tedious, terrible job), I can attest that I hardly felt guilt at precariously placing one of those goddamned art books on the high shelf. I’d always hope that it’d fall, we’d get sued and put the oversized books back in the monasteries from whence they came.

  12. You never know when your librarian might have to disarm a nuke. I’m pretty sure Jack Bauer got his start as a library page.

  13. 99% of problems people have with librarians come from interactions with (mainly) woman who work at the public library and who are not librarians. It’s like forming a bad impression of butchers because you got terrible service at the grocery store trying to get a stock boy to cut you a porterhouse.

    The people with MLAs didn’t think this up, I bet. This sounds like “drugfree city employees” crap from local government.

  14. you get to listen to bluehairs talk about how downtown looks like Tijuana.

    Or maybe Volgograd. Woodburn has one of the highest percentages of Russian immigrants of any place in the country I hear. Of course my experience with Woodburn consists mostly of stopping at the outlet mall on my frequent trips between Portland and Corvallis.

  15. If someone wants my urine, I will give it to them, as long as I can place my specimen directly into the mouth of the person requesting said urine specimen.

  16. zig zag – two girls with a cup will show up and collect.

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