Wednesday, January 12, 2005

KKK wins right to "adopt a highway"

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the KKK's efforts to sponsor a highway in Missouri's "Adopt-A-Highway" program. I believe that this may be the right decision; if the gummint is to open a program to public participation, they can't discriminate on the basis of viewpoint of the participants. One could argue, though, that states have the right to set viewpoint neutral criteria for participants in gummint programs, such as requiring that participants not discriminate in membership on the basis of race. I guess it depends on whether you consider the highway program as a "government program" or whether it is more a "limited public forum" for the propagation of free speech (in return for services provided to the government; here through the picking up of trash). The fact that the program allows for the participants to put up "sponsorship" signs would tend to weigh on the side of it being, at least in part, a "free speech" issue.

But the "Adopt-A-Highway" program requires that the groups that participate actually go out and keep their stretch of highway clean. I wonder if some people might think of ways to keep those Klansmen busy and out of mischief. The thought of a bunch of Klansmen along the side of the road picking up garbage does indeed tickle my fancy ... perhaps they ought to dress themselves in bright orange robes for the occasion. . . .


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