Tag Archives: press releases

Army Times article notes troops’ presence in Occupy movement, cites MLTF

An article was published in the November 18, 2011 issue of Army Times, Navy Times, et. al. (Gannett-owned publications that serve the military community) that highlighted how off-duty servicemembers and veterans are participating in the Occupy movement across the country.
‘Occupy’ protests lure veterans

Joining the ranks of hundreds of Occupy offshoots that have sprouted up in cities across the country, veterans are enlisting in the grass-roots movement in increasing numbers, even ascending to leadership positions.

They are also among the movement’s first casualties.

A sidebar article offers insight into the rights of military personnel and veterans to protest.

Military officials said troops are free to participate in Occupy rallies but are prohibited from wearing their uniforms or presenting themselves as official spokespeople for the military.

That goes for those who have been discharged from active duty or drilling Reserve units but are still in the Individual Ready Reserve. All service members incur an eight-year obligation to the military — regardless of contract length — and are subject to involuntary recall from the IRR at any time during that period.

While it’s rare for veterans in IRR status to be charged for violating uniform rules, it’s not unheard of.

MLTF Executive Director Kathleen Gilberd was interviewed for this piece, and her contribution helped clarify the the concerns of troops and commanders alike.

Even when they aren’t technically breaking any rules, troops can find themselves facing repercussions, legal experts said.

“Commanders can sometimes get a little overzealous when they see someone at a protest on TV that they don’t like,” said Kathleen Gilberd, executive director of the Military Law Task Force, a San Diego-based advocacy group. “The rights are pretty clear, so often what happens is commands will informally harass them.”

Troops should be especially wary of attending protests where violence is likely, she said.

“The regulations say you shouldn’t go to a demonstration where violence or a ‘breach of the peace’ is likely to occur. But that’s pretty vague,” Gilberd said.

And commanders shouldn’t use that rule as a catchall to keep troops from attending rallies they don’t like.

“They can’t just say ‘don’t go there’ because they think something might happen,” Gilberd said.

 


Legal support for servicemembers, reservists and veterans participating in Occupy Wall Street actions

The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and thousands of cities world-wide and offered legal support.

Members of the US military have joined the OWS protests in many locales. As the Military Law Task Force of the NLG, we stand ready to coordinate legal support for active duty servicemembers, reservists and veterans who are facing harassment and/or legal sanctions for participating in these important protests. (We can be reached by telephone at (619)463-2369 or on our website at this link.)

We also want to correct some of the misinformation given to members of the military about the right to protest. Contrary to popular opinion, active-duty members of the military do retain some of their constitutional rights. While there are some military-specific restrictions on these rights, most protest actions are in fact legal.

NLG endorses Occupy Wall Street movement, calls for members to join

EMERGENCY RESOLUTION BY THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD ENDORSING THE OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY AND OVER 1500 CITIES AND CALLING UPON LAWYERS TO JOIN THE PEOPLE.

WHEREAS, on September 17th, 2011, two thousand people rallied in response to a call, using the General Assembly process, to occupy Wall Street and march to protest corporate influence in the political process. As of today, over 1500 cities have formed their own Occupations, gathering in General Assemblies in public spaces across the United States. Applying principles of direct democracy and consensus, and using the internet, these General Assemblies are determining the grievances, solutions and systemic changes needed to protect the 99% from the environmental, social and economic abuses of the 1%. This includes, which this Resolution incorporates by reference, the Declaration of the Occupation approved by consensus on September 29, 2011 at the New York City General Assembly in the occupied Liberty Square.

WHEREAS, the United States government and the U.S. Courts have repeatedly violated the United States Constitution in repressing 1st Amendment rights of freedom of association, assembly and speech, and in denying habeas corpus and due process first to foreign enemy combatants and now to U.S. citizens accused of terrorism abroad,

WHEREAS, when the rule of law was no longer respected in Argentina, Pakistan, India, Tunisia, other nations during the Arab Spring, and worldwide, exasperated lawyers marched in protest hundreds of times,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Lawyers Guild endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement, encourage legal observation and mass defense and call upon lawyers, legal workers and law students to march alongside the people in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The National Lawyers Guild will also support the Occupy Wall Street movement by providing specific information on the U.S. treaty laws protecting the rights demanded by the people.

Submitted by Valeria A. Gheorghiu, Esq.
Approved by the membership at the NLG National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, October 2011

Joint Statement of Opposition to the Presence of Military Recruiters at OCU Law

The following is a statement issued by NLG Law Student Chapter at the Oklahoma City University of Law in Oklahoma, City, OK in opposition to military recruiters on their campus (original text located at Student Chapter of NLG at Oklahoma City University of Law website):

JOINT STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION TO THE

PRESENCE OF MILITARY RECRUITERS AT OCU LAW:

To the administration of Oklahoma City University and Oklahoma City University School of Law:

We issue this statement as concerned student and community organizations out of our collective concern over the presence of military recruiters on campus at OCU.

Our concern is that the US military engages in discrimination through its so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This policy was initiated in 1993 by Democratic President Bill Clinton. This policy, unlike previous policies, allowed gay people to serve in the military as long as they were silent about the fact that they were gay.

From Moral Assaults, to Criminalization, to the stigma of Mental Illness, to the prohibition on marriage and adoption rights, LGBT Americans have long suffered in our nation. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is but another injury in the long line of continuing abuse. The policy “imposes upon gay soldiers the requirement that they proclaim a false straight identity to the world, either by remaining silent in the face of a persistent ‘heterosexual presumption’ or by actively claiming a heterosexual identity as the only realistic method of complying with the policy.” Instead of preventing discrimination, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” serves to mask discrimination under the guise of “political correctness” and oppressive silence.

In many jurisdictions, gay people are not protected against discrimination in employment. Statewide protections against workplace discrimination exist in only fourteen states; in the rest of the country, employees fired for being gay have no legal recourse unless they work in a locality with its own anti-discrimination ordinance. Even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed to such discrimination, the United States Congress has still failed to enact the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which would make it illegal to fire, or refuse to hire, someone because of his or her sexual orientation.

Unlike many corporations and private institutions, OCU has taken the progressive step of drafting a Non-Discriminatory Policy which states:

The School of Law provides its students and graduates with equal opportunities to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. In furtherance of this policy, the law school communicates to each employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other placement functions the school’s firm expectation that the employer will observe the principle of equal opportunity.

However, federal law prohibits OCU from following its own policies (or Regulation 6.19 of the American Association of Law Schools), since the Solomon Act provides that no federal funds shall be provided to any college or university that denies campus access to military recruiters. Recognizing the conflicting interests that Oklahoma City University faces in providing affordable education to students of limited means (through federal financial aid that is contingent on compliance with Solomon) and its stated desire to provide a non-discriminatory equal-opportunity environment, we call for the following ameliatory steps in lawful peaceful resistance to the unconstitutional aims of the Solomon Act: 1. We call for Oklahoma City University to implement a campus-wide “disclaimer policy” for the posting of military recruitment literature on campus. Currently OCU law School requires a disclaimer for all military recruitment literature posted at the law school, but OCU Student services (serving the campus as a whole) does not require such a disclaimer. We believe that it is time to close this loophole in school policy. Military recruitment literature should have a disclaimer on it, no matter where it is posted on campus. 2. We call for the administration to join other law schools across the country in opposing the Solomon Act through litigation. The Act has already been found unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds in other locales. Given this persuasive authority, OCU should seek similar relief in this Circuit. 1. We call for Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that is destructive to the principles of our Constitution, the fabric of our communities, and the lives of LGBT students, service members, and Americans. We also call for Congress to repeal the Solomon Act because it is unconscionable to force higher education to engage in discrimination.
List of Organizations that have officially endorsed this statement: National Lawyers Guild, OCU Law School chapter

Lesbian and Gay Law Students Association of OCU

Red River Democracy Project

Cimarron Alliance Foundation of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Oklahoma City Code Pink

Oklahoma City Women in Black

Tulsa Peace Fellowship

The Peace House

Green Party of Oklahoma

Oklahoma County Greens (GPOK local chapter)

Green Country Greens (GPOK local chapter)

Rural Oklahoma Greens (GPOK local chapter)

10 U.S.C. § 654 states in part:
(b) POLICY.-A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that-
(A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
(B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
(C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion or intimidation;
(D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
(E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual . . . .
(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

Tobias Barrington Wolff, Article, Political Representation and Accountability Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell , 89 I OWA L. R EV. 1633 , 1637-38 (2004).

See Oklahoma City University School of Law Student Handbook 1 (2003-04).

See generally 32 C.F.R. § 216.3 (2005).

See e.g. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights v. Rumsfeld, 390 F.3d 219 (3d Cir. 2003), See also Burt v. Rumsfeld , 2005 WL 273205 (D. Conn. 2005).