Supreme Court Rejects Religious Liberty Case

By Mira Soni 

The U.S. Supreme Court made headlines in military and free-speech advocacy circles on Monday when it rejected an appeal by a former Marine, who was court martialed for displaying Biblical phrases at her desk.

Monifa Sterling, formerly a lance colonel in Camp Lejeune, N.C., was court marshaled in 2014 for disrespecting a superior officer and four counts of disobeying lawful orders. Among these charges was her refusal to remove a Bible verse displayed in her cubicle. The verse, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper”, was deemed combative by a Staff Sergeant, and Sterling was ordered to remove it. When she refused, the sergeant removed it. The next day, Sterling put the verse back on her wall, and the sergeant removed it once again. Sterling was reduced in rank and discharged.

In April 2016, Sterling appealed her case to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The court turned the case away in a 4-1 opinion, stating that the interference of Sterling’s superior officers did not constitute a “significant burden” on her ability to exercise her religion.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal without comment.

Additional sources:

Punished Marine Gets Religious Liberty Case Heard in Military’s Highest Court (Washington Post)

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal (

Discharged Marine Heads to Court (


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