Hawaii Filed “Brief” Backing Missouri Against Klu Klux Klan in “Adopt-A-Highway” Program – (Free Speech 1… States 0)

A neo-Nazi group has joined the state’s (Missouri) “Adopt-A-Highway” volunteer litter pickup program, taking advantage of a free speech court fight won four years ago by the Ku Klux Klan…

…The state says it had no way to reject the group’s application. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling arising from a similar effort by the Ku Klux Klan says membership in the Adopt-A-Highway program can’t be denied because of a group’s political beliefs. At the time, the state could reject applications for the program from groups that denied membership based on race or had a history of violence.

It’s a First Amendment thing, and we can’t discriminate as long as they pick up the trash,” said Bob Edwards, a spokesman for the transportation department’s office in Springfield.

The state can deny an organization’s application only if it has members who have been convicted of violent criminal activity within the past 10 years…

…Edwards said his department had received only one phone call asking why the National Socialist group was allowed to adopt the highway. Louise Whall, spokeswoman for the city of Springfield, was not aware of the group’s action until contacted by the AP, but said the city had no jurisdiction because it’s a state program.

Most other states have programs similar to Missouri’s. Ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont — had joined in filing a brief backing Missouri’s side in the court fight.

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