Georgia's Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by a lower court, giving a win to a Ku Klux Klan group that wants to be allowed to take part in the state's Adopt-A-Highway cleanup program, CNN reports.
The Ku Klux Klan group from north Georgia applied to join the Adopt-A-Highway program in May 2012, hoping to clean up litter along Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains. The highway program was started in 1989 and urges volunteers to clean up sections of the state's roads. The group's name on a highway sign comes with being part of the program.
Georgia's Department of Transportation denied the KKK's application, saying that the road in question is not safe for cleanup because it's a controlled-access road with a 65 mph speed limit.
On its website,
the Southern Poverty Law Center called the KKK "the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups."
Secondly, the department said, the highway program is only for "civic-minded organizations in good standing." The KKK has a "long-rooted history of civil disturbance," the denial said.
Denying the application was "impermissible viewpoint discrimination," Justice Keith Blackwell said, reported CNN.
The DOT filed its appeal incorrectly, the court's opinion said. The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of the KKK group in 2012, saying that the state of Georgia violated the group's free speech.
Georgia suspended its Adopt-a-Highway program in 2012, because of the KKK's application. If Georgia reopened the program, the state would have to accept the Klan's application, according to U.S. News and World Report.
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