This 2006 story is bit long in the toothbut interesting. I never realized this was actually possible. I guess I figured there would be some sort of gate-keeping function, but apparently KKK membership is just as First Amendment protected as any other association.
Klansman Reinstated As State Trooper
Court Orders Nebraska State Patrol To Rehire Man Fired For Klan Ties
Has he preformed his duties without discrimination?
I don’t like the KKK, or supremacist groups of any creed (I tend to be on the wrong side of their pointy sticks…), but if he can preform his duties without issue, I’d be fine with his continued service on the force.
But if I was his boss I’d watch the guy like a hawk, go over every single tape / footage, and make sure he’s done nothing wrong, and find a fireable offense to nail him on. There has to be at least one.
I guess my main concern with such a man (if I was his supervisor) would be less the KKK thing in that I’d assume he would watch his step to some degree re his treatment of minorities if that was known, but more his overall judgement. Stupid and/or clueless people with authority and a gun are problematic.
As repulsive at that may seem, it makes sense from a legal point of view.
Once you start making exceptions to the First Amendment, it’s not really freedom of speech is it ? Same goes for anti-discrimination laws. Those are and should be valid for all beliefs & minorities, no exceptions. It’s certainly amusing, in a gallows humor way, that laws drafted to protect black people from racism also protect racists now that they are, thankfully, more and more of a minority, but it’s not irrational.
As long as the guy hasn’t beaten up a black guy or publicly spouted Klan crap/hate speech while on duty or any other stuff like that, there’s no grounds for giving him the sack. Grounds for increased scrutiny, probably.
On the other hand, if he *was *fired by his superiors because of questionable behavior in general (not necessarily racist, but any misconduct that would be grounds for firing a cop), and he claims the real reason was his Klan membership, that’s something else ; but it doesn’t seem to be the case based on this article alone.
I (kind of) understand where the ruling came from, but what if he were a member of Hamas? Al Qaeda? Any other radical group known for it’s illegal activities?
There has to be a point where it’s okay to say, “As far as we know, you’ve not done anything criminal, but we can choose not to put you in a position of authority and power due to your association with potentially violent nutjobs.”
Not if the Klan itself isn’t illegal or labelled as a terror group by the local State or Federal governement. As far as I know, the current revival isn’t, anywhere - but I admit I’m not an expert on the subject. I’m not even a layman on the subject :p.
But (and understand I’m playing Devil’s advocate at full steam here) since it’s par for the course for supremacist and bigot groups of all denominations everywhere in the West, I’m guessing the Klan spokesmen, publications, speeches and so on take great pains to skirt hate speech as close as possible, and deal heavily in implications, subtext etc… but never *actually *advocate illegal actions.
Thus, should the government make any attempt to brand the Klan as a criminal organisation based on a lynch mob or church bombing, they may paint the actual lynchers and church burners as well-meaning but misguided souls who have misunderstood the peace-loving and civic-minded ideas and goals of the Klan. Surely the Klan as a whole can’t be held responsible for the acts of individual criminals who absolutely coincidentally happen to be members of the Klan ? Comparing them to Al Qaeda or the Symbionese Liberation Army is absolutely preposterous, as these ghastly radicals publicly and overtly state their goal of killing people. Why the very idea that the respectable Klan would even consider such a ghastly amoral thing is an insult, liable to countersuit for libel !
You get the idea. Sucks, I know, but short of drafting special laws or jurisprudences just for the Klan, there’s not really any way to go at it - and such exception laws & court decisions could form the basis of legal actions and discrimination against less unsavory minorities. In the end, it’s the whole Larry Flint thing, in a ghost costume (kinky !).
The state appealed from the arbitration decision to the District Court, which set aside the decision and held that the state could fire the trooper.
He then appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which heard the appeal, deliberated for a while, and then ordered a re-hearing, focused on four questions: collective bargaining agreements, constitutional rights, binding arbitration and legal precedent.
The Court made the order for a re-hearing in June 2008. Briefs were to be filed in August, 2008 and the re-hearing was set for September, 2008.
Haven’t been able to find anything further, but I don’t think there’s been a decision yet.