There has been much legal maneuvering on the other side of the country lately regarding the Ku Klux Klan.
The conflict: Members of the Klan wanted to march in Manhattan to spew their hate-filled messages, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani told them to get out of town.
As if Rudy didn't have enough on his plate lately, what with the controversy over a New York art gallery's insistence on displaying a portrait of the Madonna covered in elephant poo poo, and his impending senate race against his carpet-bagger opponent.
Now, he has to contend with these freaks in sheets.
On national television, imperial wizard Jeffrey Berry argued that his Klansmen are guaranteed the First Amendment right of free speech, a right that should extend to his tribe of hooded hate-mongers.
Giuliani --a man who seems to have a pretty good idea of how much his New Yorkers will tolerate --denied the Klan a permit to protest.
It's easy to understand the mayor's impulse to keep his streets free of these vile protesters who don't have the guts to state their misguided views in public without hiding behind their hoods.
But when the battle ended up in the Supreme Court, the court sided with the Klan's right to parade, but only if members marched unmasked.
And that's how it should be. Americans should have the courage of their convictions to face their critics when exercising their First Amendment rights.
An estimated 8,000 anti-Klansmen lined the streets of lower Manhattan Saturday to make sure the KKK knew it was an unwelcomed guest in the Big Apple. Among the crowd was Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a man who fought for the Klan's right to march.
"We protect the right of free speech, even if it is stupid and hate speech," Nadler told the press.
The 8,000 unmasked KKK critics shouted their own brand of intolerance at the marching Klansmen -- all 16 of them.
In the end, the KKK could only find 16 of its dark-hearted members who had the conviction of their beliefs to march without hiding behind their masks. The numbers speak for themselves.