Gaetz Demands DOJ Explain SpaceX Lawsuit

Gaetz Demands DOJ Explain SpaceX Lawsuit

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
August 28, 2023

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against innovator and tech mogul Elon Musk's SpaceX company for not hiring asylum seekers and refugees, instead hiring U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents exclusively. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has written a letter demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland turn over documents and testify before Congress to explain the decision.

Late last week, The DOJ's Civil Rights Division (CRD) announced the suit, to which Musk defiantly said the DOJ "needs to sue themselves" and spoke of the case as "yet another case of weaponization of the DOJ for political purposes" on X (formerly Twitter). Additionally, Musk said the decision to hire citizens and lawful permanent residents exclusively was because doing otherwise would be a criminal offense, owing to the status of rockets as "advanced weapons technology" (dual-use), which the DOJ claimed was false.

Rep. Gaetz was having none of that in his letter, accusing the CRD of filing "a lawsuit against Space Exploration Technologies Corp., otherwise known as “SpaceX,” for complying with federal law [emphasis his] and, specifically, because of this conduct: “SpaceX hired only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, from September 2018 to September 2020."

Moreover, Rep. Gaetz noted one portion of the suit states SpaceX's hiring practices are not justified by any legal standing, yet "rather than proving in a court of law that SpaceX’s and Mr. Musk’s statements about their legal obligations were pretextual (i.e., that they had no reasonable belief that federal law required their practice) you appear poised to take mens rea entirely out of this equation."

In other words, Gaetz is claiming the CRD is suing SpaceX for discrimination without establishing there was the intention of engaging in discrimination.

As a result, the letter demanded AG Garland hand over a list of every law CRD cited and reviewed in order to make their case, a sworn statement from him that no law prohibits manufacturers of dual-use technology from hiring asylum seekers and refugees by September 8th, and testimony before Congress by the 20th.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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