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Judge rules SpaceX must comply with Justice subpoena

A federal Judge has ruled that SpaceX must comply with Justice Department subpoena demanding its full hiring records in connection with an investigation by the agency’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section about SpaceX’s decision to not to hire a non-citizen.

However, the DOJ unit is not only investigating the complaint, but also has said it “may explore whether [SpaceX] engages in any pattern or practice of discrimination” barred by federal law. Investigators in October issued a subpoena demanding that SpaceX provide information and documents related to its hiring and employment eligibility verification processes, to which SpaceX has not fully complied.
Hiring policies in place

SpaceX’s lawyers argued in court that the DOJ’s probe is overbearing given the original complaint. “No matter how generously ‘relevance’ is construed in the context of administrative subpoenas, neither the statutory and regulatory authority IER relies on, nor the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, permits IER to rifle through SpaceX’s papers on a whim and absent reasonable justification,” SpaceX said. “And even if IER could somehow belatedly justify its current investigations, IER’s subpoena is excessively overbroad. IER’s application for an order to comply with the subpoena should be denied,” the company added.

There is another component that suggests this investigation is bogus and is intended as an attack by the government against SpaceX. The company makes rockets, and it must be extra careful about its hiring of any foreign national. So, on one hand the government forbids SpaceX from hiring foreigners, and on the other hand the government is condemning SpaceX for not doing so.

Moreover, it does appear that Justice is going on a fishing expedition in SpaceX’s files, something it is forbidden to do according the fourth amendment of the Constitution. A search such has this can only occur when there is evidence a specific crime has occurred. The search Justice wishes to do is broad and unreasonable, not based on any specific allegations but merely to “explore” SpaceX records to find a crime.

We have only just begun. The law and the Constitution means little to many in the Biden administration, in Washington, and in our government in general. What matters is power and the ability of these thugs to tell everyone else what to do. It looks like they increasingly have SpaceX in their sights.

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  • Jay

    Besides this being a mafia-like shakedown on SpaceX, what part of ITAR does the DOJ not understand? There are many engineering jobs out there where you have to be a born U.S. citizen to apply due to ITAR, DoE, DoD, and many other security regulations. To do work at a U.S. nuclear reactor site requires you to be a born citizen.

  • Chris Lopes

    This is a product of the Bezos purchase of the Washington Post. His friends in the administration are attacking his foremost competitor. In return, they get the fluff treatment from the hometown newspaper. Corruption pure and simple.

  • Col Beausabre

    “Nice rocket you got there, be a shame if anything happened to it”

    Extortion was more open a century ago

  • Milt

    OK — This probably won’t get past the censor, but — I am sick to death of this kind of stuff from the Biden-Ho Regime — perhaps it is time for one of those kinetic energy weapons (essentially a directed meteor) to be targeted on the good judge’s house. Who would know that it wasn’t a “real” meteorite?

    SpaceX could probably pull this off. This might be “wrong” from a moral standpoint, but it would sure as hell make me feel good! It would also rid the world of one more corrupt, partisan, in the pocket of The Powers That Be judge*. As Michael Savage used to say, “the stench from the bench is making me clench.”

    *Paraphrasing the old joke about lawyers —

    Question: “What’s a hundred judges at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean? ”
    Answer: “A good start.”

    PS — A more “serious and acceptable” comment will follow.

  • Milt

    The latest actions by the Justice Department (sic) with respect to SpaceX raises, once again, the fundamental question of whether or not the Biden Administration actually “wants” to have a successful American space program, particularly if it is spearheaded by a free market oriented concern like SpaceX. At the very least, for many elements of the Biden Administration, it is probably far more “important” that the “right” people are hired to positions at SpaceX than whether or not they can do the intended job. (This is, after all, the prime directive in their drive for enforced “equity and fairness” in every facet of American life. )

    Let us not forget that the Biden regime is fundamentally driven by Marxist ideology, not patriotism or even a desire to succeed in such things as space exploration, and wokeness trumps efficacy or even conflicting federal law. Moreover, given the ideological rigidity of this regime, there would seem to be a very real question as to whether or not The Powers That Be inside it would want SpaceX to be successful at all, even at the cost of ceding American leadership in space to the Communist Chinese. Indeed given this administration’s bias toward Communist China’s agenda — for which support some members / family members appear to be very well compensated — why *wouldn’t* they want to support the PRC over American firms?

    The situation in Congress, happily, seems to be rather different, with what appears to be bipartisan support for continued American leadership in space, even if it is a robust private sector (the horror) that provides it. Similarly, it is quite possible that there are elements of support even within the administration itself, such as Senator Bill Nelson. If this should be the case, than the DOJ’s actions may be causing as much consternation within these quarters as they are among other advocates of continued American leadership in this area.

    Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall in Senator Nelson’s office?

  • Col Beausabre


    “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

    H. L. Mencken

    For those who are unaware, in warfare, the black flag means “No quarter will be asked and none given”. Deguello would be appropriate background music

    Yes, I think we are getting dangerously close to the edge, so I’ll shut up

  • Doubting Thomas

    CNBC article, pretty one sided recitation of facts that would imply SpaceX did something fishy.

    The judge, Dolly Gee, is a failed Clinton appointee and a successful Obama appointee. Seated 2010. Recommended by Barbara Boxer in each nomination. She clerked for a Carter appointee, Hon. Milton L. Schwartz. Private practice 1986-2009 with Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers LLP. Made Partner, 1990. While in private practice, she also served as a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a federal labor relations authority from 1994 to 1999.

    During Trump’s administration, she ruled that illegal alien kids had to be released w/in 20 days due to COVID. She was born in Hawthorne CA and her dad worked on Apollo and Space Shuttle.

    Interesting that her former firm, SCHWARTZ, STEINSAPIR, DOHRMANN & SOMMERS, LLP has or had at least 3 cases against Tesla with the NLRB – conflict much?

  • pzatchok

    This attitude is not just this administrations but is the attitude of the whole of the left and especially millennials now.

    They think the government and its agents have the peoples best interests at heart and we should just do everything they recommend because its just for our own good..

    They do not even realize the rights they are loosing when the cancel culture wins. Or when new rules and regulations come down from on high.

    They look at anything the government does to Musk and his companies as just and proper.
    They attack Tesla for any reason and pray that the government does something against it.
    They attack Space-X for the same reasons and these attacks on it are looked at as just compensation for the government letting Musk make so much money.
    They think Musk should be donating his cash like the Gates’ do. They do not understand trust laws and do not realize that the Gates only give away tax money( money they should pay in taxes but …) and never the principle of the trust.

    They attack Trump for not paying much in taxes but let the rich they agree with off for the very same thing.

  • James Street

    “It looks like they increasingly have SpaceX in their sights.”

    I’ve wondered how Elon Musk has made it this far without all the usual suspect government agencies destroying his company. Savvy advisors? Bribes? Cutthroat lawyers?

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    Nicola Tesla, Preston Tucker, Henry Kaiser…….

  • Dave in Denver

    Rule of law vs rule of men on display. With public law these days being measured in the thousands of pages, it is not practicable to have “rule of law”, so we must have our betters (men) rule in its stead.

    Please bring back the quill pen.

  • Aacid

    SpaceX is a cowboy company, similar to a lot of the early testing done in space flight. They still work to trial by experiment rather than the current regulatory approach designed to maintain position of current companies on the assumption that there isn’t much left to learn. Even just the fact that Musk bends the rules and isn’t a good little toady telling the paper filers what they want to hear and ensuring no risk to regulators is enough to get the eye of sauron looking down on him.

  • BLSinSC

    Hmm, was that just a “non-citizen” or an ILLEGAL ONE? I thought AMERICAN COMPANIES were free to hire ANYONE they wanted to! I know you can’t discriminate based on color,sex, sexual orientation, arrangement of condiments in your refrigerator, bathroom of choice, or pronouns, but you still have the right to hire the BEST person that fits your job opening! Let’s look at this situation in a POSITIVE light. If Space X has been following our laws then they have nothing to fear. But THAT is not the POSITIVE light I’m getting at. This is just ANOTHER PRECEDENT that is being set. The next REPUBLICAN Administration should use all these PRECEDENTS and go after all the LEFTIST organizations!! Attorney-client privilege was abolished by the dems in their witch hunts against PRESIDENT TRUMP so the LEFTISTS are now FAIR GAME! Space X’s hiring decisions open the door to fb, twitter, googly, and a host of others! AND the recent persecution of the Trump Organizations have established the necessary PRECEDENT for future AG’s (REAL ONES) to investigate the LEFTISTS!! We just need the RIGHT persons to do this!

  • They think the government and its agents have the peoples best interests at heart and we should just do everything they recommend because its just for our own good..

    Because one of the basic (and flawed) assumptions of our social technocracy, is that the “non-profit” are inherently more virtuous and trustworthy than those who HONESTLY state their intent to make a profit.

    Government is (allegedly) “non-profit”, so they are granted the authority, in social technocracy, to even pre-emptively restrain the for-profit in a manner reminiscent of Gulliver.

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