Case of Obama-bashing Marine renews debate over First Amendment rights – The Hill’s DEFCON Hill


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Case of Obama-bashing Marine renews debate over First Amendment rights

By Jeremy Herb 04/08/12

The case of a Marine who is facing discharge for posting disparaging comments about President Obama on Facebook has renewed a debate about free speech rights for members of the military.

A review board on Thursday recommended that Marine Sgt. Gary Stein be discharged for comments on his “Armed Forces Tea Party” site, where he called Obama “the domestic enemy,” superimposed his face on a “Jackass” movie poster and said he would not follow some orders from Obama.

Service members are banned from engaging in political speech or activities while representing the military.

Stein and his lawyers argue he was acting as a private citizen when posting on the Facebook page, and say the Marine Corps are violating his First Amendment rights by prosecuting him for his comments.

Stein has an ally on Capitol Hill in Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a Marine reservist who sent a letter to the Marines Tuesday urging them to drop the case against Stein.

Hunter received a response Friday from Marines Maj. Gen. Vaughan Ary, staff judge advocate to Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, according to Hunter’s spokesman.

 Case of Obama-bashing Marine renews debate over First Amendment rights – The Hill’s DEFCON Hill.

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