12/14/2010 9:57 AM ET
Government drops appeal of ruling that MLB 2003 drug-testing results were seized illegally
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday, Dec. 10, that the government would not ask the United States Supreme Court to reverse a court of appeals ruling that the government had illegally seized records regarding Major League Baseball's 2003 survey-drug testing. The deadline for asking the Supreme Court to review the case -- by filing a petition for certiorari -- was Monday, Dec. 13.
The decision by the Justice Department to drop the appeal means that the court of appeals ruling is now final, and that the records regarding the 2003 testing must remain confidential.
"We are pleased that the government has decided not to pursue this case any further and to let this long legal battle end," said Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "Pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the players were promised that these 2003 test results would be anonymous and confidential. We have always believed that the seizures were improper and violated the rights of the players and the MLBPA. The courts have agreed. This is a significant victory for our members and for our collectively bargained Joint Drug Program."
In 2004, with search warrants that named just 10 players, the government seized records regarding the 2003 MLB drug-testing for all Major League players. The MLBPA immediately contested the seizures, and later in 2004 three different federal district judges ruled in favor of the MLBPA and ordered the government to return the materials.
The lengthy appellate process followed. Last September an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a vote of 9-2, issued a revised opinion confirming its previous ruling that the seizures were illegal and violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.