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HSLDA Media Release
February 20, 1998

Michael New Appeals to the Supreme Court

For immediate release
February 20, 1998
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

Washington D.C.—Today Michael Farris, lead counsel in the federal courts for Spec. Michael New, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court to overturn the November decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Court of Appeals ruled that New must wait for the military courts to finish their appeals process before bringing his constitutional challenges to military service in a UN uniform to the federal courts.

     “It is not unusual to ask American soldiers to fight alongside soldiers of other nations. But for the first time in American history, President Clinton ordered our troops to become soldiers for another sovereign nation,” said Farris. Farris is assisted by Herbert Titus, a former Dean of a law school and constitutional law professor from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

     The Michael New case has drawn much national attention and is virtually unprecedented in the courts. The issue of whether the President may order US troops to serve under UN command is particularly more relevant as US involvement in the UN increases.

     New’s attorneys point to both constitutional and statutory provision which prohibit Clinton’s order. “Article I Section 9 of the Constitution says that no person who works for the federal government can assume any position for any other sovereign without the consent of Congress—and Congress has never consented to any American becoming an official UN soldier,” Farris added. “Michael New is asking the Court to declare an order of the President to be unconstitutional. Such a legal challenge is better off in the Supreme Court which has a history of great independence rather than the military courts which have historically obeyed their Commander-in-Chief.”

     Farris also pointed to the United Nations Participation Act which requires specific congressional approval before the President can assign any American troops to enter a UN- directed action. “No such authorization has been requested by Clinton or approved by Congress,” he stated.

     The 17-page decision by the Court of Appeals, on November 25, 1997, expressly refrained from making any comments on the merits of the case and instead limited its ruling to the issue of the timing of the case in federal courts.

     “There is no question that the general rule requires soldiers to complete their military appeals before turning to the federal courts. But this is far from a typical case,” Farris explained. “There is no legal difference between this case and one in which the President orders Americans to become members of the German Army or Russian Navy. We believe that the federal courts, and not the military courts, are the right ones to tell the commander-in-chief that his power does not extend to the point of ordering Americans to become mercenaries for another sovereign. Subjects can be ordered to serve other sovereigns. Citizens, however, have both the duty and the right to be exclusively loyal to their own nation. Michael New is a citizen of the United States, not a subject that the President can trade away at will.”

     New refused to obey an October 1995 order which required him to add several UN items to his U.S. Army uniform as part of a UN peacekeeping operation in Macedonia. The Army's order to become a UN soldier also required New to obey UN commanders, carry a UN identity card as his exclusive identity to be carried into the battlefield, described by the UN as having “near-war” conditions. New will also lose his rights as a US soldier under the Geneva Convention. Since it does not apply to UN troops.

     New is still a member of the Army until his appeals are completed, but is on involuntary leave. He resides in Texas at the current time.