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On October 5, 2010, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in NASA v. Nelson. The case presents the question of whether a prospective federal government contract employee is protected by a constitutional right of informational privacy from having the government ask, in the course of a background investigation, whether the prospective employee has received counseling or treatment for illegal drug use that has occurred in the past year or from asking the prospective employee’s designated references for any adverse information that may have a bearing on the employee’s suitability for employment at a federal facility. The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, would restrict disclosure of responsive information to third parties.
To discuss the case, we have University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Professor Richard J. Peltz.