Court Agrees to Hear Appeal of Bible-Quoting Marine
The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has agreed (PDF) to hear the case of former Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling, the Marine convicted of, among other things, disobeying orders for posting Bible verses on her workstation. The court will weigh
whether the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act should shield Sterling’s defiance of a command that she remove the biblical quotes from her Camp Lejeune workplace.
“This case is important,” Sterling’s appellate attorney, Michael Berry, said Thursday, adding that it “has the potential to affect the religious freedom of millions
of Americans who serve in our armed forces.”
Sterling’s appeal was bolstered by support from state attorneys general, 42 members of Congress and Paul Clement, a Bush administration solicitor general with 75 cases before the Supreme Court who will now represent Sterling at the CAAF.
In reviewing the case, the higher military appeals court will address questions including whether the staff sergeant’s order burdened an exercise of religion and, if it did, whether it was narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.
This appears to discount any implication the court will review Sterling’s broader case, which included other offenses.