Does a Marine have the right to criticize the president?

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Official U.S. Marine Corps photo

Gary Stein is an outspoken conservative blogger, who criticizes President Obama’s health care reforms and fears the Administration might one day take away America’s guns. But Gary Stein is also Sgt. Stein, an active duty, nine-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps based out of the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego.

Sgt. Stein faces dismissal from the Marines for his political activism, with his superior officers arguing that his writings violate long-held military prohibitions on political activism while still on active duty. Stein case raises questions about the place of free speech within the ranks. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice military members cannot criticize the chain of command. A hearing will be held Saturday on his case.

I spoke with Sgt. Stein yesterday. “This is a choice I’ve made and I’m too far down the road to turn back now… I have to stick to my guns and stick to my beliefs,” said Sgt. Stein.