“From all appearances, supervisors at NASA's JPL abused their power in order to persecute Coppedge, because he happened to be a Darwin doubter,” says attorney Casey Luskin.
Pasadena, CA (PRWEB) February 2, 2011
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has dumped a lot of fuel on the fire of a discrimination lawsuit by firing the employee who brought the suit, says Casey Luskin an attorney at the Discovery Institute.
Supervisors at JPL illegally harassed, demoted and humiliated David Coppedge, a computer specialist and high-level system administrator for his beliefs about intelligent design, according to a lawsuit filed last April in California Superior Court (case No. BC435600).
“This could potentially expose JPL to a claim of wrongful termination and increase the merits of Coppedge's claim that JPL retaliated against him,” says Luskin.
According to Coppedge's attorney William J. Becker Jr. of the Becker Law Firm, JPL claims the firing resulted from downsizing in the face of budget issues, but Coppedge is the most senior member of the team that oversees the computers on NASA’s and JPL's Cassini Mission to Saturn. Coppedge doesn't seem at all like the first person who would normally be forced to leave in such a situation, but obviously, JPL has other considerations.
“From all appearances, supervisors at NASA's JPL abused their power in order to persecute Coppedge, because he happened to be a Darwin doubter,” adds Luskin.
NASA's involvement means the affair is not unlike the recent Martin Gaskell case at the University of Kentucky which, in terms of generating taxpayer anger, stood to stir up mostly residents of Kentucky. In this case, with NASA being the federal space agency, every American has a direct stake in the matter.
Discovery Institute is urging people not forget about the damage that's been done to the public trust in this case by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is asking for people to call or email Charles Bolden, NASA's administrator, to express their outrage at the fact that Coppedge was fired. The contact information is available at Discovery’s website at http://www.discovery.org.
It is also advising people to be respectful but firm in expressing their indignation at JPL's attempt to silence a prominent, thoughtful, and well informed Darwin-doubter in their midst.
It's bad enough when private universities clamp down on the free exchange of ideas, says Luskin. “But public institutions have often seemed to be the worst offenders of all, and that is something taxpayers have every right to protest.”