NASA contractors who are suing the
government over Homeland Security Presidential Directive
12 identification cards could face a motion to dismiss
this case Jan. 11.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory
employees sued the government and the California
Institute of Technology, which oversees JPL, because of
background checks required for the issuance of the
cards. The employees say the checks would invade their
HSPD-12 requires all government
employees and contractors to be issued standardized ID
cards. The plaintiffs believe that they do not need a
full background check because they do not have a
security clearance and do not work on classified
The Justice Department, which runs the
HSPD-12 background checks, filed the motion to dismiss
Nov. 21, 2007, saying the possibility of privacy
invasion is low. Caltech filed a separate motion the
same day asking to be released from the case, saying it
had nothing to do with the background check process and
shouldn’t be held accountable for it.
on the motion to dismiss the case comes as a temporary
injunction allowing the employees to avoid the
background checks remains in place.
District Court judge presiding over the case originally
denied the injunction, saying that the employees were
required only to sign an authorization form that would
not cause harm to them. But the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals decided Dec. 5, 2007, that there was sufficient
cursory evidence to show possible privacy concerns and
temporarily granted an injunction.
plaintiffs said they were unsure what would happen next
if the appeals court didn’t come to a decision by Jan.
11. They said the hearing could be postponed, or the
judge could continue with it but postpone a decision
until after the appeals court makes its
“We cannot predict what will happen,
and we do not know whether the Ninth Circuit will issue
its ruling before the Friday hearing,” the JPL
plaintiffs said on their Web site.