U.S. District Court dismisses Michael New - Says laws don't have to be obeyed if Congress doesn't object!
(District of Columbia) - U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman dismissed the case of former Army Specialist Michael New yesterday, stating that he would "not second-guess the military courts".
In 1996, New was convicted by court-martial of disobeying an order to wear a United Nations uniform and then serve under a general officer from another country (Finland) on a "peacekeeping" mission into Macedonia. New contends the uniform was unauthorized, the deployment was illegal, and the chain of command was unconstitutional. He was not allowed to present any evidence at his trial to support his arguments. That incident alone raised the objections from many, both inside and outside the m! ilitary community.
After the military appeals ran their course, New filed his present action seeking collateral review of the court-martial conviction in the US District Court, and now Judge Friedman's adverse ruling sets to stage to appeal to the US Court of Appeals.
At the heart of Judge Friedman's ruling against New is the court's conclusion that, while former President Clinton's action deploying New to Macedonia under United Nations command may have violated the law and the constitution, it is not for the courts to say whether a statute was broken or the constitution was violated in this case. Rather, Judge Friedman reasoned, in matters of "war" it's for Congress, not the courts, to protect the rights of American soldiers who are illegally and unconstitutionally deployed in U.N. operations.
In support of his opinion that Congress should have stepped in, Judge Friedman mistakenly wrote that "no contingent of Congress has ever stepped forward to dispute" then-President Clinton's authority to place American soldier's under U.N. command and control." A spokesman for Michael New advised, however that several Members of Congress, present and past, publicly disagreed with the President's action, recalling that Congressmen from both sides of the aisle protested, and vigorously so. Among them were Helen Chenoweth (Idaho), Bob Barr (Georgia), Dr. Ron Paul (Texas), Joe Scarborough (Florida), Duncan Hunter (California), Bob Dornan (California), Dr. Roscoe Bartlett (Maryland), and many more. They wrote letters to then-President Clinton. The entire House passed a Resolution in the House of Representatives. And several members of the House sponsored and introduced a bill to prevent future such U.N. deployme! nts of soldiers like Michael New.
Many Americans consider Michael New's stand to be an important one in the preservation of U.S. sovereignty. Retired LTC Art Peterson (highly decorated WWII, Korea, Viet Nam combat veteran) recently said, "Spc. New's case is the most important military legal case to be raised in my lifetime. If he fails, our Republic fails."
"While we are grateful for the thoughtful decision rendered by Judge Friedman, we obviously believe that his conclusions are incorrect," said Daniel New, father of Michael New and Project Manager for his defense, "and we will appeal the decision to the next level. In the meantime, Congress needs to hear from the People that the courts consider it their job to resolve this issue."
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