District Court Hearing on Injunction Restricting HSPD-12 Background Investigations of JPL Employees

Press Release From:
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Contact: Robert M. Nelson, Lead Plaintiff. 818-635-5536, For Release: Jan 9 2008

When: Friday Jan 11, 2008 at 2 P.M.

Where: Courtroom 11 United States District Court, Presiding Judge Otis Wright 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles

Attorneys and Plaintiffs will be available for media interviews following the hearing

Background: The case evolves from a hearing last year in which employees of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory sought injunctive relief against their employer Caltech and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in order to prevent intrusive personal background investigations. Caltech and NASA argued that these intrusions were required under Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12, an executive order signed by President George W. Bush. The JPL employees do no classified work.

Judge Wright dismissed the case on October 3, 2007. The employees appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and an emergency temporary injunction was granted on October, 5 2007 just hours before JPL was to begin advertising for replacements for those employees who were deemed non-compliant.

A second panel of the Ninth Circuit Court heard arguments on this case on Dec 5, 2007 and has not yet issued an opinion. The case is still assigned to the district court under Judge Wright's jurisdiction. The injunction remains in effect until a further ruling is issued by the Ninth Circuit Court. The government has filed a request for dismissal, and Caltech continues to petition the court to be removed from the case under the argument that Caltech was merely obeying a contractual requirement imposed unilaterally by NASA and is not an agent of the government.

What is happening: These two motions and perhaps a few other related matters may be argued on Jan 11. The following developments might grow out of the hearing:

1) Postponement of arguments until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals makes its ruling

2) Hear arguments and then postpone decision until the Ninth Circuit makes it ruling

3) Hear arguments and make a decision irrespective of the Ninth Circuit's pending ruling

4) Postpone a decision on the request to dismiss the case but immediately rule for or against Caltech's petition to be released from the case

If Judge Wright does make a decision on Friday, either side can appeal.

All legal documents relevant to this proceeding can be found at HSPD12JPL.ORG

// end //

More news releases and status reports or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.