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Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (1995)
Transcript of Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton (1995)
Description of Case
Constitutional Question and issues in the case
Lawyers argument for the case prosecution and defense
The concurring and dissenting opinions of the Supreme court
High school athletes in the Vernonia School District participated in illicit drug use. School officials were concerned that the drug use would increase the risk of sports related injuries. Subsequently, the Vernonia School District implemented the Student Athlete Drug Policy, which permits random urinalysis drug testing of its student athletes. James Acton, a football player and student, was denied participation in the school's football program because him and his parents refused to consent the testing.
Argued: March 28, 1995
Decided: June 26, 1995
Does random drug testing of high school athletes violate the reasonable search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment?
Vernonia School District won.
6 votes for Vernonia School District, 3 vote(s) against
The dissenting opinion of the Supreme Court was the concern that the Fourth Amendment had been thrown our by doing away with the requirement that there had to be suspicion that someone had done something wrong, in order to search them.
-Supreme Court Justice Sandra
The concurring opinion of the Supreme Court was that The Fourth Amendment only protects against interference of privacy. Central to the Court's investigation in this case was the "subjects of the policy are children who have been committed the temporary custody fo the State as schoolmaster." The schools act as parents to the childrem and have the power of the parent committed to his charge, as may be necessary to answer the purposes for which he was employed. Hence, in the public school context, the sensibleness inquiry cannot disregard the schools' custodial and tutelary accountability for the children.
The Atcon's lawyer claimed that the kids should not be searched unless there was hard or valid evidence that the child was doing drugs; otherwise it would be a case of unreasonable search and seizure and would go against the childrens fourth ammendment. However, the lawyer for the Vernonia School district claimed that the rowdiness of the students, the injury prone athletes, and the talk of drugs throughout the school was enough evidence to conduct this drug test.
"Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995)." Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995). N.p., 26 June 1995. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
"Vernonia School District v. Acton." The Supreme Court. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
"VERNONIA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. ACTON." Vernonia School District v. Acton. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
VERNONIA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. ACTON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 17 September 2013. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1994/1994_94_590>.
DELAWARE v. PROUSE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 September 2013. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1978/1978_77_1571>.
"Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995)." Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995). Cornell University Law School Legal Institution Information, 26 June 1995. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-590.ZO.html>.
In the 2002 case Board of Education v. Earls, the majority opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas used Vernonia as a precedent and expanded it to allow drug test to all students who are engaged in extracurricular activities. The three original dissenters in Vernonia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, making Earls a 5-4 case.
The precedent set was that schools are allowed to drug test students engaged in extracurricular activities.