Missouri Soldier’s Conviction for Obama Comments Is Upheld

The nation’s highest military appeals court has upheld the court-martial conviction of a Missouri man whose racist-sounding diatribe against President Barack Obama raised tough free-speech questions.

The former soldier, who at one point claimed to have connections to Missouri’s Ku Klux Klan, forced a closely divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to clarify the law governing speech by members of the military. Soldiers, in sum, face more restrictions than civilians do.

“The right of free speech in the armed services is not unlimited and must be brought into balance with the paramount consideration of providing an effective fighting force for the defense of our country,” Judge Kevin A. Ohlson noted.

In its 3-2 decision released Friday, the military appeals court rejected defense arguments that the First Amendment protected Eric L. Rapert, of Sikeston, in southeastern Missouri, when he railed against Obama on the night of the 2012 election.

In ruling against Rapert, the court also distinguished the Uniform Code of Military Justice from federal law, whose ambiguities prompted the Supreme Court in 2015 to dismiss the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who’d posted threatening-sounding statements on his Facebook page. The military court found that the military justice code already required a determination of Rapert’s state of mind, something the U.S. Supreme Court said was lacking in the Pennsylvania case, where the defendant argued his postings were fictitious. (Read more from “Missouri Soldier’s Conviction for Obama Comments Is Upheld” HERE)

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  • Linda

    This is unfair ! I have no use for the KKK (which by the way was invented by the Democrat party) but this man has a right to free speech. Don’t call me racist as I just despise the “white half”. Blacks seem so proud of their first “black ” president but they are disregarding the fact that he is just the first “half-black” or should I say “half-white” president. He is no more black than he is white ! Please STOP WITH THE RACE CARD !

    • wandamurline

      He is no more black than he is eligible to be there.

      • Linda

        You thinking Arab ? I’ve thought that too. muslim for sure. Liar for sure.

  • wandamurline

    That is okay….Trump can give him amnesty when he gets elected.

  • ConsGram

    G. Washington once said “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led to slaughter.” Mike Dikta was taken off ESPN because he said some true things about Obama. It’s been happening since Obama was elected. Most obvious was the IRS targeting Tea Party groups. We are just steps away from Cuba.

  • Denice

    wonder if that’s in the oath our military take…? oh btw, you give up God-given unalienable rights?