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Court: KKK can continue plan to 'adopt' a Georgia highway

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ATLANTA – Georgia's highest court has ruled that the Ku Klux Klan's lawsuit over its bid to 'adopt' a highway can continue.

In a unanimous decision announced Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Georgia dismissed the state's appeal of a lower court ruling. Court officials say the Georgia Department of Transportation failed to follow the correct procedures in filing its appeal.

In 2012, a KKK chapter sought to adopt one mile of a north Georgia highway. Among the DOT's reasons for denying the request was that "the impact of erecting a sign naming an organization which has long rooted history of civil disturbance would cause a significant public concern."

The Klan chapter said then that it would seek legal assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union. The group did call the ACLU, and in November 2014, a Georgia court sided with the Klan.

Georgia's "Adopt-A-Highway" program, which enlists volunteer groups to clean up roadside litter.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation sued on the KKK's behalf, saying its free speech rights were violated.

In a summary of the supreme court's ruling, justices called its decision a "partial victory" for the KKK, saying it means the group's lawsuit against Georgia may proceed to trial.