Tea Party Marine loses bid for restraining order to stop discharge

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A Camp Pendleton Marine facing expulsion from the
military for posting comments critical of President Barack Obama on Facebook
lost his bid Friday for a restraining order to stop the discharge proceedings.

Last week, a three-member military panel unanimously recommended that
Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, be kicked out of the Marine Corps with an “other-than-
honorable” discharge.

Stein went to federal court in hopes of obtaining a temporary
restraining order to prevent his discharge, but U.S. District Judge Marilyn
Huff denied the request.

The military panel's recommendation will be forwarded to Brig. Gen.
Daniel Yoo, the commanding general of the San Diego Marine Corps Recruiting
Depot and Western Recruiting Region, who will make the final decision on
whether to discharge Stein and under what conditions.

Stein was put on notice of a possible violation of the Uniform Code of
Justice last month after he wrote on Facebook that he would not follow certain
orders from the president. He later clarified the comments, saying he would not
follow any unlawful orders from the commander-in-chief. He further said he
believed his online activity was protected under the First Amendment.

Prior to the hearing at Camp Pendleton, Stein sought an injunction from
Huff, arguing that he could not get a fair trial from military panelists. His
request was denied.

Stein, a nine-year veteran from Temecula, attracted national media
attention after he started the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page in 2010.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego, Stein alleged that
during the 17-month period from November 2010 through March 1, neither his
commanding officer nor any other officer tried to restrict his Facebook
activities. Nor, he says, was he told his Facebook activities prejudiced good
order and discipline. The lawsuit claimed Stein's free speech rights were
violated.

Categories: KUSI