U.S. Supreme Court Hears NASA Privacy Case: National Aeronautics and Space Administration v. Nelson

October 7, 2010 at 7:03 am | Posted in Space Law, Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz with the blog faculty

Source: Supreme Court of the United States Blog

Issue: Whether the government violates a federal contract employee’s constitutional right to informational privacy by (1) asking in the course of a background investigation whether the employee has received counseling or treatment for illegal drug use that has occurred within the past year and/or (2) asking the employee’s designated references for any adverse information that may have a bearing on the employee’s suitability for employment at a federal facility — when the employee’s and reference’s responses are used only for employment purposes, and the information obtained is protected under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.

Plain English Issue: Does the government violate a federal contract employee’s constitutional right to privacy by asking her whether she has received counseling or treatment for recent illegal drug use in the past year, or by asking her references if they have any reason to believe she is unsuited to work in a federal facility? (Kagan, J., recused). More

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