For Immediate Release
ACLU OF EASTERN MISSOURI WINS INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FOR TRADITIONALIST AMERICAN KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
ST. LOUIS, April 15, 2010 The United States District Court, Eastern Missouri, has ruled in favor of plaintiff Frank Ancona, Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who was seeking a temporary restraining order against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Ancona was represented by the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources had denied Ancona’s request to rent the pavilion at the Fort Davidson Historic Site for a picnic on April 17, 2010. They cited “historical inaccuracies” in the Klan’s proposed presentation as violating the Fort Davidson historical education mandate.
The ACLU of Eastern Missouri argued successfully on behalf of Ancona and the American Traditionalist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that the refusal to rent the pavilion was unconstitutional discrimination based on the Klan’s particular viewpoint. The court agreed that first amendment rights would have been violated if the picnic could not proceed. He therefore granted the temporary restraining order and scheduled a full hearing for April 23, 2010.
ACLU-EM Legal Director Tony Rothert stated “The state of Missouri cannot limit use of its public parks to persons who agree with the state’s viewpoint. While most citizens rightfully disagree with the core message of the Ku Klux Klan, it is not the business of the state to decide what views should be censored. Issues of public concern benefit from robust debate in public. Viewpoint censorship like?the state attempted here is repugnant to the First Amendment.”