Eric Holder, Esq.
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
SUBJECT: Nelson v. NASA, No. 07-56424
Dear Mr. Holder,
I write in connection with the June 4, 2009, decision by the Ninth
Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Nelson
v. NASA. In that
case, the Court refused to reconsider its earlier ruling in Nelson v. NASA, 530 F.3d 865 (9th Cir. 2008),
which had preliminarily enjoined the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) from conducting intrusive background investigations of
employees at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
These background inquiries would endanger one of the nation's most
successful scientific explorations -- that of the planetary system -- by discouraging young
scientists from committing themselves to research programs conducted under
contract with the Federal government.
intrusion into scientific research is a holdover from the previous
administration, and it conflicts with the spirit embodied in President Obama's
March 9, 2009, memorandum on Scientific Integrity. Therefore, I urge you to not to
undertake any appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s well-considered decision. I also urge you to reconsider
the government’s position in the merits of the case, which is now pending in the