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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

News releases:  2/29/2012  |  6/7/2010

Trial to begin in case of NASA mission specialist demoted for his views

ADF-allied attorney available for media interviews
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Attorney sound bite:  William Becker

WHO: ADF-allied attorney William Becker
WHAT: Five-week trial in case of Coppedge v. Jet Propulsion Laboratory
WHEN:  Begins Wednesday, March 7, at 9 a.m. PST
WHERE: Los Angeles Superior Court, Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Dept. 54, 111 N. Hill St., Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney William Becker will be available for media interviews following each day of a five-week trial that begins Wednesday over a NASA mission specialist demoted by Jet Propulsion Laboratories for his beliefs about intelligent design.

Becker represents David Coppedge, a JPL employee who was a high-level “team lead” technical specialist on JPL’s Cassini mission to Saturn prior to his demotion. The California Institute of Technology operates JPL under a contract with NASA.

“Employees shouldn’t be threatened with termination and punished for sharing their opinion with willing co-workers just because the view being shared doesn’t fit the prevailing view in the workplace,” said Becker, who operates The Becker Law Firm in Los Angeles and is one of nearly 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “Mr. Coppedge has always maintained that intelligent design is a scientific theory, but JPL has illegally discriminated against him on the basis of what they deem is ‘religion.’”

Taxpayer-funded JPL punished Coppedge on the basis of allegedly “pushing [his] religion,” ignoring the fact that the scientific theory he discussed with willing co-workers makes no reference to religion and has many non-religious adherents.

Coppedge filed suit against JPL in 2010. The Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles refused to rule in favor of JPL without a trial in November of last year. The court found that sufficient evidence exists to warrant a trial over Coppedge’s claims.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.