National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab

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National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued November 2, 1988
Decided March 21, 1989
Full case nameNational Treasury Employees Union et al. v. Von Raab, Commissioner, United States Customs Service
Citations489 U.S. 656 (more)
109 S. Ct. 1384; 103 L. Ed. 2d 685
Case history
Prior816 F.2d 170 (5th Cir. 1987)
Holding
The United States Customs Service's drug testing imposed on its employees does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr. · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall · Harry Blackmun
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy, joined by Rehnquist, White, O'Connor, Blackmun
DissentScalia, joined by Stevens
DissentMarshall, joined by Brennan
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. IV

National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab, 489 U.S. 656 (1989), was a United States Supreme Court case involving the Fourth Amendment and its implication on drug testing programs. The majority of the Court upheld the drug testing program in United States Customs Service.

Background[edit]

In 1986, the U.S. Customs Service imposed a drug testing program for "employees seeking transfer or promotion to positions having direct involvement in drug interdiction," required to carry firearms, or have access to classified information. The National Treasury Employees Union sued and alleged that the program was violative of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the government. The union then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals ruling with regard to positions involving drug interdiction and firearms. The ruling for classified information was held over, as the Supreme Court determined that the U.S. Customs Service too broadly included employee groups who would not generally have access to high levels of classified information.

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals ruling with regard to positions involving drug interdiction and firearms. The ruling for classified information was held over, as the Supreme Court determined that the U.S. Customs Service too broadly included employee groups who would not generally have access to high levels of classified information.

The majority decision authored by Justice Kennedy upheld the constitutionality of the drug testing program, reasoning that the employees of customs service had "diminished expectation of privacy." Justice Marshall wrote a dissent in which he was joined by Justice Brennan; Justice Scalia wrote a dissent in which Justice Stevens joined.

See also[edit]

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