The state Department of Transportation is in a bit of a quandary. According to a report by Fox News, it has received an application from the Ku Klux Klan to adopt a stretch of highway in north Georgia under the Adopt-A-Highway program. The problem is, any stretch of road adopted carries a sign heralding the civic organizations participation in keeping the highway’s clean.
If the KKK application is approved, KKK members would be cleaning up a stretch of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains near the North Carolina border. The application is from the International Keystone Knights of the KKK in Union County. There are reportedly fears that if the state denies the application, it will be in violation of the Constitution’s protection of free speech. Legally, it is not as clear cut as many might hope. A legal battle over the same issue in 2005 in Missouri is reported to have eventually come out on the side of the KKK. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court is reported to have ruled that maintaining membership in the program could not be denied because of the beliefs of the group. A costly legal battle is something that could impact the already financially-strapped state DOT.
So what do you think? Should this application be denied or does that violate free speech?