California SC bans ISKCON from soliciting at Los Angeles airport

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Washington, Mar. 26 (ANI): In a massive blow to the Hare Krishna group or ISKCON, the California Supreme Court has upheld a Los Angeles International Airport ordinance barring solicitation inside its airport terminals.

This ruling has come as the final defeat in a 13-year legal fight by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to secure the right to solicit inside the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) under the First Amendment.

"It's pretty conclusive, and it doesn't look like there are any loopholes. As far as I can tell, it's over," the Christian Science Monitor quoted ISKCON" lawyer David Liberman, as saying.

In 1992, ISKCON had filed a suit against New York City airports claiming that a ban on solicitation in terminals violated their First Amendment right to free speech.

After winning in the district court and losing in the circuit court, ISKCON lost its case in the US Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the city's prohibition was constitutional because an airport terminal is not a "public forum."

The Chief Justice further wrote that for the majority, solicitation is disruptive in crowded, busy spaces and negatively affects business there.

In 1999, ISKCON brought a suit against Miami International Airport for its ban on solicitation and the selling of literature anywhere in the vicinity of the airport.

The federal district court and appeals court ruled against ISKCON, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the decision, leaving the Miami International Airport's restriction - and similar restrictions across Florida, Alabama, and Georgia - intact and legal.

The group again filed a suit in California, and a federal judge ruled in their favor.

But being denied the right to solicit at airport terminals, ISKCON may still distribute literature in California and at some other states at airport terminals. (ANI)

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