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.

 

This unwarranted 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 District Court.  

 

Sincerely,