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Huelskamp Files Legislation to Protect First Amendment Rights of Army Band Member and all Military Personnel

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) filed several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the House Rules Committee today. Two amendments in particular have bearing on the case of Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers. The longtime member of the U.S. Army band is awaiting court martial. It appears Sgt. Sommers "is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party."

One amendment would restrain the Army from conducting its court martial of Sgt. Sommers unless and until the Army first files a report for the Congress to review. "At the end of subtitle I of title V, add the following: "SEC. 5__ . REPORT. The Secretary of the Army shall provide to Congress a report on activities with respect to Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers not less than 90 days prior to taking any further disciplinary or administrative action against that individual.'"

Another amendment would unblock the courthouse door so that service members whose First Amendment rights have been violated by the Federal government can seek redress like any other American. "Add at the end of subtitle D of title VI the following: SEC. 634. AUTHORIZING BIVENS SUITS BY SERVICE MEMBERS FOR FIRST AMENDMENT VIOLATIONS. For a violation of First Amendment rights, a service member shall have the same right as a non-service member to sue and recover under the theory enunciated in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)."

Congressman Huelskamp made the following statement:

"It appears Army Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers has been targeted for harassment and retaliation by several soldiers and superior officers because of his Judeo-Christian religious views, as well as his conservative political views. The Obama regime's radical secularization, intolerance and downright hostility toward traditional and conservative views is creating a tyrannical culture of political correctness in the military. Sgt. Sommers is the poster child for an increasingly pervasive pattern of persecution. Vigilant oversight and new legislation are necessary for Congress to protect the First Amendment rights of service members with disfavored religious beliefs (e.g., Orthodox Jews, Catholics, and evangelical Protestants) and/or disfavored political views (e.g., Republicans, Tea Party supporters, and Libertarians)."

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