The Supreme Court has declined to review the court-martial of a former Marine, leaving in place a military court's decision that a Christian law firm says "deals a huge blow to religious freedom in the military."
Last year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces – the nation's highest military court – rejected the appeal of former Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling, who was court-martialed for expressing her Christian faith while on the job. Specifically, she posted Bible verses in her work cubicle, despite orders from a superior to remove them.
On Monday, the Supreme Court also rejected Sterling's appeal, meaning the CAAF's decision will stand. Sterling's attorney, Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute, says the decision handed down this week had nothing to do with the merits of the case.
"When the Supreme Court decides not the hear a case, the Supreme Court experts will tell you that that should never be taken as an indication of the relative strength or weakness of the case or whether the court had a particular opinion as to the merits of the case," he explains to OneNewsNow.
"There are any number of reasons why the Supreme Court might decide not to take a case, and they typically won't make public any reason why they didn't."
The attorney finds it unfortunate that there are no more legal options for his client, whose bad-conduct discharge will stand.
"And having a bad-conduct discharge in your record is something that could affect not only her ability to get employment later on in life, but also to receive military benefits that veterans typically receive," he continues.
Berry says while First Liberty is disappointed at this decision, it will continue to fight for the religious rights of everyone in the military, whether they're Christian or not.
Read summary of Sterling v. United States