Panel: Marine critical of Obama should go

April 6, 2012 at 9:39 PM
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SAN DIEGO, April 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge Friday refused, for a second time, to stop the Marine Corps from discharging a sergeant who criticized President Barack Obama on Facebook.

Judge Marilyn Huff rejected a request by attorneys for Sgt. Gary Stein for a temporary restraining order against the Corps' process for dismissing Stein with an other than honorable discharge, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, Huff scheduled a hearing for April 13 to hear arguments on a defense claim the Marine Corps is violating Stein's First Amendment rights and that the service's Administration Separation Board unfairly denies de process, the newspaper said.

The commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is to review the unanimous recommendation of a three-member Marine Corps board Thursday night that Stein should be dismissed.

Stein, 26, a nine-year veteran who had at one time been deployed to Iraq, had no comment after the decision was announced. He was accused of making statements criticizing Obama on several Facebook pages -- including one of his own -- that undermined "good order and discipline."

J. Mark Brewer, one of Stein's civilian lawyers, said, "We're disappointed but we're going to keep fighting for this Marine."

Among the comments he posted, Stein said he would not follow an illegal order to kill Americans or seize their weapons, the Times said. He also called Obama -- the military's commander in chief -- a coward and an enemy, and urged people to vote him out of office in November.

Stein sold "NOBAMA 2012" bumper stickers.

Military law bars uniformed personnel from making comments critical of their chain of command or engaging in political activity in a manner suggesting they are acting as military members.

If the panel's recommendation is upheld, Stein will be discharged before the end of his enlistment in late July, the Times said. If he receives an other-than-honorable discharge, he would be ineligible for benefits.

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