Saturday, November 15, 2008

Marines Sued By Contractor Whose Car Decals Were Banned On Base

Last Monday, Jesse Nieto, a Marine veteran who works as a civilian at Camp Lejuene Marine base in North Carolina, filed suit against military officials challenging their order that he remove various anti-Islamic decals from his car that he drives to work. Nieto's son was killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. The Base Magistrate issued a written order barring Nieto's car from the base and all other federal installations until all the decals were removed. This had the effect of also barring him from using his car to visit his son's grave at Arlington Cemetery.

According to an AP report today, Camp Lejeune's Equal Employment Opportunity office received several complaints that Nieto's decals were offensive. The suit reveals that among the offensive decals were one that read: "Islam = Terrorism"; and another that read: "Disgrace My Countries Flag. And I will SHIT On Your Quran." Even after the most offensive decals were removed, officers insisted that he remove others as well. The federal court complaint (full text) alleges that these orders violated Nieto's free speech and equal protection rights. It argues that the orders are not viewpoint neutral. A Nov. 12 release by the Thomas More Law Center that represents Nieto says that the orders are "political correctness run amuck."