In Georgia, a bunch of people in hoods want to clean up the highway but the state has told them "no." The Union County International Keystone Knights of the Klux Klan were denied entry into the program based on their history of causing civil disturbances wherever they go.
Now, the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization much reviled by conservatives because it often represents minority causes, has taken up the Ku Klux Klan's case as a matter of discrimination. Like it or not, the ACLU is right to take up the case. It is a simple matter of civil liberties for all or none.
Debbie Seagraves, the Executive Director of the Georgia ACLU confirmed that the group is representing the men in hoods, but she said they haven't worked out a strategy just yet. The application was submitted on May 21 and was rejected about 48 hours later because the Adopt-a-Highway program is only open to "civic-minded organization in good standing."
With all those cross burnings, lynchings of blacks and other minorities, and the group's vile history of hate speech aimed at anyone who supports anything that isn't Anglo-Saxon Protestant, it's perfectly understandable why the state, especially Georgia, would be leery of allowing the KKK to participate in a state-approved voluntary capacity.
However, these people, no matter how much you might disagree with them, have as much right to clean up the highways as their minority counterparts. And, hey, if a bunch of people want to walk around with trash bags clearing the filth off the sides of roads, why deny them the pleasure?
A similar case transpired in 1999 in Missouri, and the KKK won. It was speculated that the white supremacist group was more interested in remaining relevant and staying in the national spotlight than in actually serving the public.
The group won its case in 2001. Not long after Time magazine interviewed Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law and First Amendment expert at UCLA. He said, "Nobody wants to publicize the KKK's agenda, and so the group has to find a way to make news. And with this case, the KKK gets to style itself as a defender of First Amendment rights against a government that, in the mind of the Ku Klux Klan, has been taken over by all these anti-white people."
It turned out that he was right. The state of Missouri renamed the group's stretch of highway the "Rosa Parks Memorial Highway," and the group lost all interest in keeping it clean.
Regardless of what the KKK's motives are, the ACLU should be given a pat on the back for defending the group's right to contribute, regardless of personal convictions.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.