Friday, May 29, 2015

Free speech and the UCMJ: writing to Congress

Lt Col James W. Weirick,
USMC (Ret)
Hard on the heels of an Air Force genera officer's calling it "treason" for personnel to question the party line on an acquisition issue in communications with Congress, a retired 4-star officer has tried to chill free speech by saying it is insubordination and prejudicial to good order and discipline for personnel to communicate their dissenting views to members of Congress. James W. Weirick, an outspoken retired lieutenant colonel of Marines (and judge advocate), has a good essay on the claim here. One might also cite, beyond the protection from reprisals afforded to congressional correspondence in 10 U.S.C.  § 1034, the last clause of the First Amendment. Do you remember it?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

1 comment:

  1. Writers to Congress should first become familiar with United States v. Gogas, 58 M.J. 96 (C.A.A.F. 2003).[]

    On a historical note: On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress created the first whistleblower protection law, stating “that it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds, or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states.”


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