While routinely denounced as a bastion of liberalism, the ACLU has often drawn leftist fire for its defense of the free speech rights of the radical right – on the theory that vilified speech is what the First Amendment is designed to protect.
Earlier this summer, for instance, the civil liberties group came to the defense of a Ku Klux Klan chapter that wanted to “adopt” a section of highway in Union County.
City officials in Charlottesville, Va., initially denied white supremacists a permit for their rally last weekend, but the ACLU filed a lawsuit defending their right to gather. However, in the aftermath of the Saturday violence, the ACLU has imposed a new limit on who it’s willing to defend. From the Los Angeles Times:
The national organization said Thursday that it would not represent white supremacist groups that want to demonstrate with guns. That stance is a new interpretation of the ACLU’s official position that reasonable gun regulation does not violate the 2nd Amendment.
A statement from the ACLU’s California office:
“If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution,” the statement continued. “The 1st Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.”
In Maryland, workers removed the 145-year-old statue of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney outside state capitol shortly after midnight this morning, the Washington Post reports. Taney was the author of the pre-Civil War Dred Scott decision that refused U.S. citizenship to African-Americans.
In Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday he will pull together a group of advisors to help decide how to address growing calls to remove Confederate statues and rename streets bearing Confederate monikers.
The Associated Press reports that Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach, the GOP mayor of Georgia’s oldest city, wants the city’s 138-year-old monument to Confederate soldiers expanded to include other actors in the Civil War, including African-Americans. More than that, the mayor has proposed asking state lawmakers to change the name of the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge, an architectural symbol of the city that was named for the segregationist governor of the 1930s and ’40s.
The call by state Rep. Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor, to remove the Confederate carving from Stone Mountain has made its way into the messaging of at least two Republican candidates. State Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming, a GOP candidate for governor, built a fund-raising issue around his opposition to “rewriting Georgia’s history.” In an email to us, Senate President pro tem David Shafer of Duluth, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, called the carving an “engineering and artistic marvel” that shouldn’t be destroyed “for political purposes.”
Tuesday will mark the beginning of qualifying in the race to become the next mayor of Atlanta. One sign: On Thursday, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, a candidate for mayor, won approval of a resolution authorizing the county to negotiate a deal with the Atlanta Hawks to upgrade Philips Arena – and thus keep them in the city. The county is a part-owner of the arena, along with the city.
These are the lines that Eaves wanted in the press release: “We watched how the City of Atlanta let the Braves slip away to Cobb County…We didn’t want to replicate what the City Council and mayor did in dropping the ball.” You can feel the burn.
An international trade case over solar panel imports could kill the solar energy boom in rural Georgia, WABE (90.1FM) reports. Two bankrupt U.S. solar panel manufacturers, Solar World and Georgia-based Suniva, had a first hearing in Washington, D.C. this week before the U.S. International Trade Commission, charging unfair overseas competition. Should the commission agree, and if President Donald Trump imposes tariffs, solar panel prices could double.
On a similar topic, Tim Echols, a Republican member of the state Public Service Commission, has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal explaining why nuclear-generated energy is a national security issue. The troubled construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle are now the only nuclear project underway in the country. A taste of Echols’ argument:
Diversifying the energy supply makes sense, because no one knows what the future holds. The U.S. could institute a carbon tax, or even regulate frackers out of a job. No matter what happens, nuclear reactors will ensure Georgia’s electric rates stay competitive.
They also will keep the U.S. from forfeiting its nuclear leadership. As other states have decommissioned reactors without replacing them, the world has begun looking to nations like China and Russia. The World Nuclear Association reports China is increasing its nuclear generation capacity 70% by 2021 and will surpass U.S. output by 2030. The only way for America to continue setting international standards for safety and security is to invest in reactors and technology.