Reporting Tom Reopelle
SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A Camp Pendleton Marine who publicly criticized the President on Facebook moved one step closer on Friday to being forced out of the Corps.
KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports a federal judge ruled that the U.S. military has the right to respond to comments that Sgt. Gary Stein posted online.
Judge Marilyn Huff of the U.S. District Court in San Diego ruled she would not intervene in the case and denied a restraining order that would have temporarily suspended proceedings to have Stein dismissed from the Corps.
Stein, a 9-year Marine veteran, started a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party” that called on “active, inactive, or retired members of the United States Armed Forces to stand with the Tea Party movement.”
However, it was comments made by Stein that stated he would not follow orders from any commander-in-chief that would violate the U.S. Constitution that caught the attention of his commanding officers — comments that Stein said he now regrets.
“I wish I would have better articulated who I am as a conservative and as Gary Stein, ’cause those statements aren’t what I’d usually make,” he said.
Stein told reporters he never disobeyed any orders regarding posting on his Facebook page.
“Even my CO, I said ‘Sir, are you telling me to take down the page?’, he said ‘No I am not’,” Stein said. “The last two years they’ve known about this.”
A military panel has recommended Stein be given a less-than-honorable discharge, but Stein said he plans to continue to fight outside the military and go to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.