February 22, 2016 7:30 AM
This morning the Georgia Supreme Court will hear arguments on a free speech issue involving the Klu Klux Klan in northeast Georgia. The KKK wanted to take part in the Adopt a Highway program and chose HWY 515 in Union County. GDOT denied their application on the basis of public safety.
Attorney General Sam Olens and his staff attorneys will argue for the state while Alan Begner, Cory Begner and Nora Benavidez will represent the KKK.
As reported by Katheryn Hayes Tucker of the Daily Report:
Members of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan submitted an application to Union County to adopt a portion of State Route 515 in North Georgia. They say a Union County commissioner first gave them trash bags and safety vests to wear to begin picking up trash. Later, they were instructed to apply to the DOT, which denied their request because of the group’s “long-rooted history of civil disturbance” and “potential for social unrest,” according to a summary from the Supreme Court’s public information officer. They sued the state in Fulton County, seeking the right to participate in the program and have their group’s name on a sign.
The state is appealing a Fulton County court ruling in favor of the Klan.
The state contends it has the protection of immunity and also disputes the Klan’s claim that the program is a forum protected by the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
For the record, none of the KKK members involved in this case are residents of Union County. A Klan demonstration some years ago in Union County was also organized by few outsiders and county residents demonstrated their displeasure by showing up in the hundreds to counter the hate spewed by a few misguided people.
Read more: The Daily Report