The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday issued a temporary injunction blocking a federal government directive that would require new background checks for employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A group of 28 JPL scientists filed a suit in August to stop the investigations, which they said amounted to a blank check for the federal government to look into such areas as their sexual orientation and consumer histories.
The employees had been facing the potential loss of their jobs unless they met a Friday deadline to comply with the directive by filling out questionnaires and signing a waiver allowing the investigations.
A U.S. District Court had upheld the background checks Wednesday.
"This ruling shows we're not going to let hysterical fear and innuendo undermine the Constitution," said attorney Dan Stormer, who represented the JPL scientists.