In this case, a neo-Nazi group, the Springfield unit of the National Socialist Movement, had adopted a section of highway outside the Springfield city limits. The Missouri state Department of Transportation, however, has no way to deny the group’s application. There is a legal precedent due to a prior case involving the State of Missouri attempting to deny a Ku Klux Klan chapter from adopting a highway which went to the United States Supreme Court in which the court upheld the KKK’s right to clean up the highway.
This came down to a first amendment issue. The court had found that a state could not deny a group membership in the Adopt-a-Highway program because of the group’s political beliefs. The state may still deny membership if the group racially discriminates for membership or if they have a history of violence.
The racial discrimination and history of violence clause could leave open a window to deny the right to adopt the highway in the future. While there are likely few non-white applicants for membership in a Neo-Nazi group, it is likely that at least some members have a history of violence. According to the article, the state may deny membership in the program if it has members who have been convicted of violent activity in the past 10 years. Among a group of Neo-Nazis, there are probably a few members who meet such criteria. If they can be identified, then the state may be able to take action. It is interesting to note that 10 other states supported Missouri's position in the Supreme Court battle involving the KKK by filing supporting briefs. As it appears that the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other hate groups are adopting highways now with the intent of spurring on legal action to make themselves more visible, it does not appear that this is an issue that is going to go away.
Associated Press (01-02-2009). “‘Neo-Nazi Group Joins Adopt-A-Highway Plan”. foxnews.com. Web.