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Ex-Navy pilot loses libel suit, again (Washington Times 12-13-03)

Excerpted from the Rowan Scarborough story
which appeared on page A2 of the Times Dec. 13, 2003

          "A U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld the dismissal of a libel suit brought by a former Navy pilot against Elaine Donnelly and her Center for Military Readiness.

          "A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth correctly threw out the suit brought by Carey Dunai Lohrenz.

          "The ruling promises to end a contentious 7-year-old court battle that focused on the standards the Navy applied to women pilots in 1993-94 when it lifted the ban on female combat pilots. Yesterday's decision also is a boost to journalists. It reaffirms that a reporter must not wait for a subject to OK the release of information before writing a story.

          " 'The thing that's amazing about this ruling is that the judge reaffirms every thing we have been saying all along,' said Mrs. Donnelly. 'I did have my facts straight. I'm now totally vindicated because the court recognized I had the right to differ from the official statements of the Navy because I had all the facts I needed.'

          "Mrs. Donnelly, an opponent of women in combat, issued a report in 1995 accusing the Navy of providing extra favors to Mrs. Lohrenz, then a lieutenant, to ensure she qualified as the first woman F-14 fighter pilot. Much of her report was based on Mrs. Lohrenz's training records provided by one of her instructors, now-retired Lt. Patrick J. Burns. The Navy eventually removed Mrs. Lohrenz from the carrier Abraham Lincoln for what it said was unsafe flying. She filed a libel suit against Mrs. Donnelly in 1996, springing the long legal fight.

          "... Whether Mrs. Lohrenz was a public figure in 1994 is the case's key issue. Judge Lamberth ruled that her volunteering to becoming a pioneering women pilot thrust her into public figure status. As such, she must not only prove that Mrs. Donnelly's report was false, but also that she showed actual malice and a reckless disregard for the truth.

          "The appeals court ruled that Mrs. Lohrenz was, in fact, a public figure. The opinion also strongly suggested that what Mrs. Donnelly wrote was true."

(Excerpted from the Washington Times story written by reporter Rowan Scarborough 12-13-03.)

Last known link to the complete Wash Times story:

In a similar story dated Dec. 13, 2003, the Washington Post also reported: 

          "After Lohrenz's colleague, Lt. Kara Hultgreen, died while attempting to land her F-14 on an aircraft carrier in October 1994, Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, published several reports, which were widely circulated in Congress and the Pentagon, alleging that the Navy knew Hultgreen and Lohrenz were substandard pilots. The reports claimed that the Pentagon had applied a "politically driven" double standard to help them qualify for pilot duty. Donnelly's claims were reported by the Copley Press and News World Communications Inc."

Last known link to similar Washington Post story:

First Female Combat Pilots Promoted for Diversity, NOT Competence! (Washington Times 08-21-02)

(Washington Times Headline:  "Ex-Navy pilot's lawsuit dismissed. Female aviator was not libeled.")

          "A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from one of the Navy's first female combat pilots, who accused a pro-military group of libel in reporting that the aviator qualified for carrier duty through preferential treatment from instructors.

          "U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, in a 55-page opinion dated Friday, dismissed the 6-year-old suit brought by former Navy Lt. Carey Dunai Lohrenz against Elaine Donnelly, a well-known activist who heads the Center for Military Readiness, or CMR.

          "In 1995, Mrs. Donnelly issued a report based largely on information provided by one of Mrs. Lohrenz's former flight instructors, retired Navy Lt. Jerry Burns. Lt. Burns said he documented a series of special favors given to Mrs. Lohrenz when she was a student to ensure she would qualify for carrier aviation in the demanding F-14 Tomcat fighter.

          "Mrs. Lohrenz, who subsequently flunked off the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and left the Navy, disputed the report and filed the defamation suit.

          "Judge Lamberth ... sided with [pro-military activist] Mrs. Donnelly on one key legal issue: He ruled that Mrs. Lohrenz was a public figure at the time of the report's publication. As such, her attorneys failed to meet a public figure's burden of showing Mrs. Donnelly deliberately published false information, the judge ruled in dismissing the suit.

          "Judge Lamberth did not take sides on whether the subject of the suit — Mrs. Donnelly's published report — was true or false. 

          "Mrs. Donnelly said yesterday the judge's decision vindicates her determination to ensure the Navy did not lower training standards just to get more female pilots in the fleet.

           "It's a tremendous victory," Mrs. Donnelly said from her office in Livonia, Mich. "It will be good for the Navy, as well as for CMR. The opinion shows I had a First Amendment right to report what I learned. I found it was true, and it was important to naval aviation. ... This victory upholds the right of CMR to question official policies that elevate risks, and to advocate high, uncompromised standards in naval aviation training," she said.

           "Mrs. Lohrenz was one of the first women tapped by the Navy to attempt to qualify as a carrier combat pilot after Congress lifted a legal ban in 1994.   She qualified on the F-14 Tomcat and went to sea, only to flunk out for what the Navy called substandard flying.  Lt. Kara Hultgreen, a [female] shipmate, was killed when her own F-14 crashed while attempting to land on the USS Abraham Lincoln.  A confidential Navy report blamed Lt. Hultgreen for the accident.

           "It was Lt. Hultgreen's death that prompted Lt. Burns to contact Mrs. Donnelly and charge that Mrs. Lohrenz had received special treatment during training.

           "While Mrs. Lohrenz [former Navy Lt.] served on the carrier, Mrs. Donnelly [of CMR] released a report in 1995 accusing Navy instructors of lowering standards so the Navy could reach its goal of deploying female combat aviators.

           "Lt. Burns said his superior told him and other instructors that [former Navy Lt.] Mrs. Lohrenz and [the deceased] Lt. [Kara] Hultgreen must complete the course.  Lt. Burns, whom the Navy forced to retire for violating privacy regulations in releasing the documents, said Mrs. Lohrenz received seven unsatisfactory marks — more than enough to flunk her.

          "[Whistleblower Lt. Burns] told [Mrs. Donnelly of CMR] that [former Lt.] Lohrenz's training records were the worst he had ever seen, yet she was graduated to the fleet," Mrs. Donnelly's attorney, Kent Masterson Brown, said in a March court filing that asked Judge Lamberth to dismiss the suit.

           "Lt. Burns also said the Navy misled the public on the cause of the [fatal] Hultgreen crash — an accusation that seemed to be supported by a secret naval investigative report that blamed pilot error [Ms. Hultgreen's error] and was leaked to a newspaper."

(Excerpted from the Washington Times story written by reporter Rowan Scarborough 8-21-02.)

Last known link to the complete Times story:

Last known link to related Center for Military Readiness story:

Judge's Order Shakes Military -- Ruling's Effects on Future of Affirmative Action Unclear (Washington Post 03-06-02)      See also older stories on this case, below.

          "An equal-opportunity ruling by a federal judge in the District is sending shock waves through the military establishment, triggering concern in some circles and hopes in others that long-standing military affirmative-action promotion policies will have to be scrapped.

          "The opinion issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said written directions by the Army to promotion boards urging that they consider "past personal or institutional discrimination" are unconstitutional because they give preference to one race or gender over another.

          "It's a very powerful indictment of the use of race and gender for promotion," said Christopher Sterbenz, the attorney for a retired white Army officer who brought suit alleging that the military has given too much consideration to such factors.

          "Sterbenz has 15 cases pending involving officers alleging reverse discrimination, and he said Lamberth's ruling would help their cases. "They're all career officers dedicated to the service who can't stomach what's happened," Sterbenz said.

          "Some white officers have left the service because of perceived reverse discrimination. "I saw there was no future in sticking around because I wasn't a minority," said Dan Endrizal, a lawyer who retired from the Army in 1996 after being passed over for promotion.

          "Curtis Marsh, of Fairfax City, is among those who has brought suit alleging reverse discrimination. "It's disconcerting for people when they realize they're not getting a fair shake," said Marsh, who retired from the Marine Corps as a lieutenant colonel in 2000."   (From the story by Steve Vogel, Washington Post 03-06-02, Page A8)

Last known links to complete story (links expire fast!):
Wash Post (standard format):

Wash Post (printer friendly):

Reverse-discrimination case gives Army, Justice pause - Judge finds promotion policy unfair to white males (Washington Times 03-06-02)

          "The Justice Department and Department of Army attorneys are reviewing a federal judge's ruling that struck down the Army's officer promotion policy on grounds that it discriminates against white male officers.

          "The policy was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth because it gives preference to women and minorities in promotions while passing over qualified white male officers.

          "Specifically, the judge ruled that the policy urges the Army's promotion boards to consider the past and personal discrimination faced by women and minorities but it does not order the boards to also consider whether there has been discrimination against white men.

          "This undeniably establishes a preference in favor of one race or gender over another, and therefore is unconstitutional," Judge Lamberth wrote in his opinion.

          "The ruling came in a case involving retired Lt. Col. Raymond Saunders, a white officer who claimed he was denied promotion to the rank of colonel in 1996 and 1997. He sued the Army in 1999, claiming that its equal-opportunity policy — which it used twice to determine whether he should be promoted — favored minority and female officers.

          "Monday's decision could affect thousands of Army officers passed over for promotion in the past six years, and even affect equal-opportunity policies of other branches of the military, according to lawyers who specialize in military law. The ruling would not, however, affect any officers who have already been promoted, they said.  (From the story by Ellen Sorokin for the Washington Times 03-06-02 page A8)

Last known link to complete story (links expire fast!):
Wash Times:

Web-Posted March 5, 2002:  "A federal judge struck down the Army's equal-opportunity promotion process yesterday, saying the policy gives undue preference to women and minorities at the expense of white, male officers."

(Washington Post, Tues., Mar. 5, 2002, Page A01) -- See also newer stories on this case, above.

          "The Army's written direction to promotion boards that urges them to consider the "past personal or institutional discrimination" faced by women and minorities is unconstitutional because the policy does not order the board also to consider possible discrimination against white men, the judge found.

          "This undeniably establishes a preference in favor of one race or gender over another, and therefore is unconstitutional," U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth wrote in a 68-page opinion.

          "The decision came in the three-year-old case of retired Lt. Col. Raymond Saunders, a white officer who was twice denied promotion to the rank of full colonel in 1996 and 1997. He retired in 1999 as a judge advocate general -- an Army lawyer -- and then filed suit.

          "[Saunders'] case is one of several filed by white Army officers, and a fewer number filed by officers in other branches of the armed services, that allege the military has been giving too much consideration to race and gender in promotions.

          "The court has declared the Army's officer promotion standards to be unconstitutional. A lot of other people are obviously going to be using this as a precedent," said Christopher A. Sterbenz, the attorney representing Saunders and nine other white officers in similar suits. "   (From the Washington Post story 03-05-02 page A01 written by Neely Tucker)

Last known links to complete story (links expire fast!):
Wash Post #1 --

Wash Post #2 (printer friendly) --
 (copy of Post story) --

For .MIL users only (restricted) --

Court Dates Set On Constitutionality Of Army Affirmative-action Policies (09/11/00 - no link)

          From the Army Times article by Jim Tice:  "Judge Royce C. Lambeth of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Nov. 8 in several reverse discrimination suits that challenge the constitutionality of Army affirmative-action policies.

          "The policies have been used by officer promotion boards since the 1970s.

          "In the nearby Court of Federal Appeals, Chief Judge Loren Smith will conduct a hearing Sept. 11 to determine remedies in a class-action suit (Christian vs. the United States) involving 1,000 former Army lieutenant colonels -- all white males -- who were involuntarily retired eight years ago.

          "Earlier this year, Smith ruled that the equal opportunity/affirmative action instructions provided to the 1992 lieutenant colonel Selective Early Retirement Board violated the Fifth Amendment "due process" rights of white males.

          The Army Times reports that since Judge Loren Smith's decision was handed down in a Court of Federal Claims, the ruling can potentially be used as a legal precedent in other legal challenges to the military's use of race and gender in promotion and retirement decicisions.  Theoretically, Smith's ruling could be cited as a precedent in the U.S. District Court hearing on Nov. 8 in which Judge Royce C. Lambeth will be presiding over the six promotion cases, according to the attorney representing the 6 officers in the Nov. 8 proceeding (attorney Christopher Sterbenz of Vienna, Virginia).

          According to Army Times, Judge Royce C. Lambeth said the six reverse discrimination suits upon which he will rule on Nov. 8, 2000 pose "grave constitutional issues".  Lambeth did not provide any further elaboration regarding how he might rule in those cases.  (Based on the Army Times article, 09/11/00, by Jim Tice)
[no link available]

Court Rules Army Affirmative Action Program Unconstitutional (06/13/00)

          E-Mail to Adversity.Net from Robert F. Christian II, plaintiff in Christian v. U.S.:  "On June 5, 2000, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that the Army's affirmative action program, as applied in a 1992 mandatory retirement board, was unconstitutional."   The full text of the judge's historic Opinion and Order in this case can be found at the following link:

New Guidance For Officer Boards Stops Race, Gender Preferences (03/06/00 - pay/subscription site)

          According to the Army Times:  "Responding to a flurry of reverse discrimination lawsuits, the Army has changed the affirmative-action and equal-opportunity instructions given to officer promotion, school and command selection boards.

          "The changes involve board procedures that have evolved over the past three decades to encourage the selection of women and minorities at rates comparable to the dominant race/gender group under consideration, which for most boards is white males.

          "The old instructions required boards to compile an order-of-merit list and set a tentative cut line for selection. If a board did not meet its equal opportunity goal, it was required to conduct a file review of officers in the affected race or gender group to look for past discrimination.

          "The new instructions do not set [racial] goals, and they do not provide for race/gender file reviews or the revoting of files.

          "Board members are told the equal opportunity guidance "shall not be interpreted as requiring or authorizing you to extend any preference of any sort to any officer or group of officers solely on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender."

          "In recent years, the type of practices required by the old rules have come under attack in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of affirmative-action policies. The federal courts generally have ruled affirmative-action measures must be designed to remedy specific instances of discrimination.

          "A 1995 Supreme Court case (Adarand vs. Pena) is important for the Army because it ruled against affirmative-action contracting by the Department of Transportation, a federal agency. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in the majority opinion that "federal racial classifications ... must serve a compelling interest, and must be narrowly tailored to further that interest."

          "Citing Adarand and similar cases, several white male officers have filed suits over the past three years that challenge the legality of promotion panels and Selective Early Retirement Boards." (From Army Times, by Jim Tice, 03/06/00)
[link to Pay/Subscription Site: ]

Army Fights Reverse Discrimination Lawsuits In Congress / Officals To Limit Legal Actions Against Officer Promotion Boards (05/01/00 Pay/Subscription Site)

          According to the Army Times:   "The Army has switched tactics in its long-running battle to fend off reverse discrimination lawsuits against the officer promotion system.  In two separate but related actions, the Army has:

"* Asked Congress to make it impossible for soldiers to challenge virtually all types of adverse board actions in court without first being considered by a special board convened at the discretion of the secretary of the Army.

"* Asked the U.S. District Court in Washington to dismiss a suit brought by Lt. retired Col. Raymond M. Saunders, a JAG Corps officer who was passed over for colonel in 1996 and 1997.

          "The proposed congressional statute, which would apply to all the armed forces, is included in the fiscal 2001 budget request. It would be "retroactive in effect and apply to any judicial proceeding pending on the date of enactment," a Pentagon analysis of the legislation obtained by Army Times says.

          "If approved by Congress, such a law would rid the Army of several pending suits brought by officers who claim the affirmative-action policies used by selection boards until just six months ago violated their constitutional rights.

          "Saunders, one of several white male officers with promotion suits before the court, recently asked Judge Royce C. Lambeth to issue a summary judgment in the case. Saunders claims the colonel boards were illegal because they were assigned race and gender goals and were required to review and possibly revote files when they didn't achieve those goals." (Based on Army Times article, 05/01/00, by Jim Tice)
[link to pay/subscription site: ]

Analysis:   Center for Military Readiness

Military Discriminates Against Men (Thu., 08/10/00)

[This summary is based on a report by the Center for Military Readiness which is an organization dedicated to educating the public about social engineering in the military and the readiness problems caused by politically-correct tampering with qualifications.]

Discriminatory Discipline:   In 1996 Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy alleged that Major Gen. Larry Smith "groped" her in the Pentagon. Kennedy waited 3 years -- until 1996 -- to file a formal complaint at which time the alleged "groper" -- Smith -- was up for a promotion.

          Smith was forced to resign without an opportunity to respond to Kennedy’s charges. The Army chose to back Ms. Kennedy unilaterally, without any due process for Smith, apparently because of her new found fame, alleged ties to Clinton advisors, and a book deal. (Maj. Gen. Larry Smith had a flawless record, many character witnesses, and he denied the charges -- to no avail.)

Beyond Tailhook:   The DoD inspector general repeatedly violated due process in its "investigation" of the alleged Tailhook sex scandal in 1991. So flawed was the IG’s investigation that the official Tailhook report was ruled inadmissible in at least 3 separate judicial proceedings. None of the courts-martial brought against the alleged perpetrators in Tailhook succeeded because of the IG’s abuses of the accused’s civil rights.

          Nonetheless, the careers of dozens of aviators were destroyed in the aftermath of Tailhook.

          For example, a Navy board cleared Commander Robert E. Stumpf of any wrongdoing at Tailhook.  Stumpf, who formerly commanded the Navy’s Blue Angels, and who was decorated in the Desert Storm conflict, was denied promotion to captain for the appearance that he was culpable in Tailhook.

          However, a female Navy officer who admitted that she lied under oath about an alleged gang-rape at Tailhook was not punished for lying.

          In another case, the Air Force’s first woman B-52 pilot, Lt. Kelly Flinn, caused an uproar in 1997 when she disobeyed orders and lied about having an affair with the husband of an enlisted woman. Flinn’s court martial was suspended and she received a general discharge.

Double Standards:   Due to pressure to increase the number of female pilots, the Navy essentially killed F-14 pilot Lt. Kara Hultgreen by relaxing many requirements while training Ms. Hultgreen. She died while attempting to land her F-14 on the USS Lincoln in October 1994.

          In the aftermath, another female Navy pilot, Lt. Carey Dunai Lohrenz, was removed from carrier flight status due to "unsafe, undisciplined, and unpredictable" flight performance. Apparently the Navy didn’t want to be responsible for killing another female pilot for Affirmative Action.

          Lt. Patrick J. Burns was instrumental in bringing to light the poor performance and training which favored the rapid advancement of both female pilots, Lt. Kara Hultgreen and Lt. Carey Dunai Lohrenz. While Lt. Burns may well have saved the life of Lt. Lohrenz and other Affirmative Action pilots, he was nonetheless censured and removed from consideration for promotion by none other than President William Jefferson Clinton. Clinton does NOT sit still for criticism of Affirmative Action! Apparently our commander-in-chief would rather see ill-prepared Affirmative Action candidates die rather than admit his quota system is flawed.

More Double Standards:   Also consider two, unrelated but parallel cases in 1998.  Navy Lt. Patrick Callaghan’s career was ended by a letter of reprimand after he mooned male friends. Callaghan had an excellent service record as well as a doctorate in his field.  By contrast, around the same time female Lt. Fredericka Spilman posed for a skin magazine distributed to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.  She was wearing her dog tags and not much else.  Ms. Spilman received a non-punitive letter of caution and an honorable discharge.  But male Lt. Callaghan’s 11 year Navy career was ruined for mooning a few of his male buddies. 

          Ms. Spilman's indiscretion was viewed in permanent, full-color glory by hundreds of thousands of magazine subscribers, while Mr. Callaghan's non-sexual "mooning" was witnessed by only a few individuals and was not recorded for posterity in a general circulation magazine.  (Based on the Center for Military Readiness story as published in NewsMax.Com)
[story link ]

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June 5, 2000

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.