KKK Adopt-A-Highway case in Georgia is now headed to the state supreme court. The white supremacy group claims that their constitutional rights were violated when they were prohibited from picking up trash along the highway.
The International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan case was heard by the Georgia Supreme Court earlier this week. The court will now spend the next few months debating the state’s claim of immunity from prosecution in the case. The KKK may or may not have the right to seek civil or criminal prosecutorial remedies against the sovereign entity.
The Georgia KKK group wanted the Adopt-A-Highway sign to read “IKK Realm of GA, Ku Klux Klan.”
— Police News Group (@PoliceNewsGroup) February 23, 2016
The ACLU Georgia chapter is standing behind the right of the KKK to sue the state over the Adopt-A-Highway program refusal. The executive director of the group, Maya Dillard Smith, stated she fears that if the state supreme court refuses to allow the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to fight the state over the alleged rights infringement, it will promote discrimination, MSN reports.
“It will be expanding the right of the state to engage in viewpoint discrimination. That is, the state will be given a license to refuse participation of individuals and groups whose speech the government disagrees with,” Smith added. “Today it’s the KKK. Tomorrow it’s journalists, lobbyists, religious evangelicals and even Black Lives Matter.”
The KKK has been battling the Georgia Department of Transportation of the Adopt-A-Highway ban for three years. The white supremacy group staunchly maintains their First Amendment rights were violated by the state agency.
“We just want to clean up the doggone road… we’re not going to be out there in robes.” What’s your take? https://t.co/8NsxRsqRON
— The Sun News (@TheSunNews) February 24, 2016
The KKK Adopt-A-Highway dispute began four years ago. KKK members April Chambers and Harley Hanson submitted an application to the Georgia Department of Transportation to claim an open one-mile stretch of highway to do litter clean-up. The section of road the group wanted to clean was located along Route 515 near the mountainous region on the North Carolina border.
“We just want to clean up the doggone road. We’re nit going to be out there in robes,” Harley Hanson said during an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In the Adopt-A-Highway program rejection letter issued by the transportation department, the group was reportedly told there was an issue with their organization name and that the 65 MPH speed limit in the requested area made in unsafe for volunteers.
Here’s an excerpt from the Georgia Department of Transportation KKK rejection letter.
“The impact of erecting a sign naming an organization which as a long rooted history of civil disturbance would cause a significant public concern.”
In 2014, a trial judge ruled that it was unconstitutional for the state to inhibit the free speech rights of the KKK and to ban them from the volunteer program based upon their history and out of “public concern.” The state appealed the decision.
The lawsuit against the state filed by the KKK, with help from the ACLU, was first heard in the Fulton County Superior Court in the fall of 2015. The lawsuit sought an injunction to force the transportation department to issue an Adopt-A-Highway permit and to declare that the agency had violated rights guaranteed under the state constitution.
KKK attorney Alan Begner said if the Georgia Supreme Court sides with the state on the sovereign immunity debate, the state constitution will become a “gutted and is a meaningless document.”
If the Ku Klux Klan wins the case, members will go straight to the transportation department office and ask for their trash bags and volunteer vests.
What do you think about the KKK Adopt-A-Highway case in Georgia?
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