(SAN DIEGO) — Civilian lawyers for the Marine sergeant discharged Wednesday for posting critical comments about President Obama on Facebook say they will continue to fight his dismissal in civilian courts.
On Wednesday, Sergeant Gary Stein was given an “other than honorable” discharge from the Marine Corps for disparaging comments that included labeling President Obama an enemy.
The Marines said the comments by the nine-year veteran were detrimental to good order and discipline and violated military law. Because of the “other than honorable” discharge, Stein will be demoted to lance corporal and be ineligible for most federal veterans benefits.
The conservative U.S. Justice Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union say they will continue to fight Stein’s dismissal in federal courts.
They believe the Marine Corps overreached its authority and violated Stein’s First Amendment rights to free speech. Earlier this month, a federal judge denied their request for a temporary restraining order to block Stein’s dismissal.
Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation told ABC News that, once Stein has transitioned out of the Marine Corps in a few weeks, “we’ll be amending the complaint to reflect a request for relief for his reinstatement to the Marine Corps. ”
A spokesperson for the ACLU confirmed that the organization would continue to try and block Stein’s discharge through the federal courts.
Kreep said his organization is committed to taking Stein’s case all the way to the Supreme Court if that’s what he wants.
Stein expressed his disappointment about his discharge on his Facebook page. “I have spent the last 9 years honorably serving this great nation and the Corps,” said Stein. “Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me. I thank my family and friends for their support and love. Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.”
Kreep said Stein’s case has united groups from across the political spectrum because “free speech and due process rights are important.” He added, “It shows people who disagree on a variety of issues can come together, and that’s what we’re doing.”
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