Mark V. Sykes: Robert M. Nelson and 27 fellow Caltech scientists, engineers and administrators working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are risking their jobs and their personal financial well-being to fight for their right of privacy against unwarranted government intrusion. They are fighting for all of us, and they deserve our respect and support.
The Supreme Court of the United States has scheduled October 5, 2010 to hear argument on the matter of open-ended background investigations of federal contractors arising from Homeland Security Presidential Directive #12 (Nelson et al. vs NASA, No. 09-530).
For the past two years, a small band of senior scientists and engineers at Pasadena, California’s Jet Propulsion Lab have pursued a lawsuit against their employers at Caltech and NASA to protect themselves—and by extension, all federal employees—against the unreasonable invasions of their privacy under a presidential order signed by former President George W. Bush.