|Iowa State Senator Joni Ernst|
29B.85 CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS.
Any person subject to this code who uses contemptuous words against the president, the governor, or the governor of any other state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which that person may be serving, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.See also Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) art. 88. Consider the candidate's comments as quoted in this Des Moines Register letter to the editor from a Vietnam-era veteran:
Earlier this year, [State Sen. Joni] Ernst said that President Obama (her commander in chief) has "overstepped his bounds" and that he was a "dictator" and that he "should be removed from office" or "impeached."The veteran also wrote:
Our commanding officer told us, "Nobody in the military is allowed to publicly say anything negative or contemptuous about our commander in chief." They told us that we would be prosecuted if we did. [Emphasis added.]1. Has this candidate violated either the UCMJ (as the letter-writer contends) or the ICMJ? If so, by making which of the quoted comments?
2. Is she subject to the UCMJ when not in federal service?
3. Are her remarks protected by the First Amendment?