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Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Assn.

Significance, Highly Intrusive Searches Should Be Based On Probable Cause


Samuel K. Skinner, U.S. Secretary of Transportation


Railway Labor Executives' Association, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That regulations requiring the testing of bodily fluids after a train accident do not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of railroad employees.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Richard Thornburgh, U.S. Attorney General

Chief Lawyer for Respondents

Lawrence M. Mann

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Anthony M. Kennedy (writing for the Court), Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 March 1989


Upheld regulations that required railroads to test blood, urine, and breath of employees involved in train accidents, deciding that such tests did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.
  • Witt, Elder, ed. The Supreme Court A to Z. CQ's Encyclopedia of American Government. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1993.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994