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Court Tosses Scott Walker’s Food Stamp Drug Testing Lawsuit

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON ― A federal court has stymied the state of Wisconsin’s effort to drug test food stamp applicants.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) championed the drug test policy as he launched a doomed presidential bid in 2015. The Obama administration said federal lawdoesn’t allow states to drug test food stamp recipients, so the Walker administration asked a federal court to decide.

Federal Judge Charles Clevert said Wisconsin filed its complaint too soon, arguing it hadn’t actually implemented the drug testing policy and given the Obama administration a chance to reject it formally.

“It is unclear how Wisconsin will implement the drug-testing program and what, if any, additional issues may or may not arise from it,” Clevert wrote in his Sept. 28 decision.

The Walker administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A regional office for the Department of Agriculture, which is the federal agency that oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, declined to comment.

In response to the lawsuit last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told HuffPostthat Walker didn’t understand federal law.

“It’s always a good idea before you start litigation to understand what the law is,” Vilsack said then.

One of the largest safety net programs in the U.S., SNAP serves 45 million Americans and is commonly called food stamps. Republicans in several states have sought to implement drug testing requirements, only to be thwarted by federal rules that bar states from adding new conditions for eligibility.

 

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