Lawyers will continue fight for Marine dismissed over criticizing Obama

May 1, 2012 @ 7 Comments

Lawyers for a Marine sergeant who is being dismissed from the service for criticizing President Obama on Facebook will continue to fight for him in federal civilian court, the lawyers said Wednesday.

The lawyers from the ACLU and the conservative U.S. Justice Foundation said that the 1st Amendment rights of Sgt. Gary Stein were violated when a Marine general chose to dismiss him. The lawyers hope to win reinstatement for Stein.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo accepted the unanimous recommendation Wednesday of an Administrative Separation Board at Camp Pendleton that Stein be dismissed for making disparaging comments about the commander-in-chief that were disruptive to “good order and discipline” and violated military law.

But the ACLU’s David Loy disagreed.

“I don’t believe Sgt. Stein did anything other than engage in political speech,” he said Wednesday after the announcement. “Since the days of Valley Forge, I seriously doubt that there haven’t been members of the armed forces who haven’t complained about their government.”

Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation said he believes Stein was targeted by the Obama administration because of his anti-Obama feelings.”I think someone in the White House said, ‘Let’s get this SOB,’ ” Kreep said.

The lawyers said they are not exactly sure what legal strategy they will take but said they would continue the fight in federal court. Stein also has the right to appeal Yoo’s decision through the military, up to the Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus.

After the announcement of Yoo’s decision, Stein put a post on his Facebook thanking his family and friends for their support.

“Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me,” the post said. “…Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.”

Stein, 26, a nine-year veteran who served in Iraq, had called Obama a coward and an enemy, vowed not to salute him and called for his defeat in this year’s election.

One of the websites was an Armed Forces Tea Party page on Facebook that was created by Stein, who sought to sell bumper stickers printed with “NOBAMA 2012.”

Stein’s civilian lawyers had sought to have his discharge blocked in federal court on the grounds that his 1st Amendment rights were being violated by the Marine Corps. A federal judge in San Diego refused their request.

Stein was informed of the general’s decision Wednesday. It will take at least a week for the administrative paperwork to be completed, a Marine spokesman said. Yoo is commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

A weather forecaster, Stein had recently lost his security clearance and was working as a scheduler on the rifle range at Camp Pendleton.

A Marine spokesman said Yoo “found the [separation] board was conducted in accordance with law and regulation, that the findings of misconduct were supported by the evidence of record, and thus approved the board’s recommendation.”

Yoo accepted the board’s recommendation that Stein be given an other-than-honorable discharge.

Stein is being demoted to lance corporal. His discharge status will make him ineligible for most veterans benefits. The separation board consisted of a lieutenant colonel, a major and a sergeant-major.

Original Story

7 Comments → “Lawyers will continue fight for Marine dismissed over criticizing Obama”

  1. D ee

    1 year ago

    This was on a social facebook and he should not have been discharged.
    What happened to free speech?

  2. Rustytruck

    1 year ago

    Semper Fi Marine!! We’re with you 100% my Brother. I’ve spent my life serving our country but I left on my own accord and what they did to you is totally unforgivable. When it all comes out about Obama, I think we should all ban together and demand a formal apology from the WhiteHouse, Not Obama but the Govt. in general for not allowing you the same freedoms we all put our lives on the line for. And especially yours, you have been infringed upon and needs to be defended. I want you to know, I’d bet every Veteran feels the same way, it was not right, it will never be right. God Bless you My Brother in Arms, and once again, Semper Fi Marine!!

  3. Marie

    1 year ago

    you are a hero, and more of an American than Barack Hussein Obama is.

  4. Helen C Satmary

    1 year ago

    He is a hero and has expressed what many Americans believe. I am sure it was the Obama WH that put pressure on whoever to discharge him and that someone is the one who should be discharged for dishonorably discharging a marine who served in Iraq, who put his life in danger and in doing so has shown his allegiance to this Country. It cannot be said that the WH or his Commanding Officer has done the same.

  5. Gayla White

    1 year ago

    I agree! What happened to FREE SPEECH???

    What’s our country coming to?? This is against what our forefathers agreed to and free speech is AMERICAN!

  6. major

    1 year ago

    Technically military personnel cannot engage in political speech or activities while on a military installation or in uniform. But while off-duty, off-base and in civilian clothes they have the same political rights as any citizen. That is they can criticize the government and its elected officials. That could include disparaging remarks as long as they are not threatening. Using Facebook off-duty falls in the latter situation. Also be aware that the oath of office does not swear allegience to the President but to the Constitution and the Country.

  7. Dennis Twohy

    1 year ago

    I aam sorry that this young Marine was tossed out of what he was making his career. The only mistake he made was openly telling the truth. When he did this he ticked off a very thin skinned winney butt little boy who in his quirquey limp mind wined, stamped his feet and most probably peed his pants and would not eat until his vengence was villified. I pray that he wins his day in court but also learned not to pick on wet nosed pant pissing spoilted little boys. Our government is in a very pathetic shape becausee of the lymp arty that is ruining I mean running it.

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