ACLU to represent KKK in Georgia lawsuit
Knighthawk (from left), April Hanson and her husband Harley Hanson, members of the International Keystone Knights Realm of Georgia, perform a traditional Klan salute along the portion of highway they want to adopt allowing them to put up a sign and do litter removal near Blairsville on Sunday, June 10, 2012. / Atlanta Journal Constitution,AP Photo/Curtis Compton
(CBS/AP) ATLANTA - The American Civil Liberties Union will help the Ku Klux Klan in its bid to join Georgia's highway cleanup program as a legal fight looms.
ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Debbie Seagraves said that the civil rights group will assist the Klan in its battle with the state.
The International Keystone Knights of the KKK applied to join the "Adopt-A-Highway" program along part of Route 515 in the north Georgia mountains. Participating groups are recognized with a sign along the road they adopt.
State officials announced this month they would deny the KKK group's application, setting up the legal showdown.
Seagraves said the Georgia's Department of Transportation is violating the First Amendment by singling out groups for different treatment based on their viewpoints.
"This is a program that's available to a wide variety of groups, individuals and agencies. But the Department of Transportation decided not to grant this group ... based on who they are and their philosophies, their beliefs," Seagraves said. "We believe it is unconstitutional and many different courts have held that making a decision based on viewpoints is unconstitutional."
The ACLU is still working on its strategy for representing the group in what it considers a First Amendment case, Seagraves said.
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