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International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee

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Brief Fact Summary. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc., (Petitioner) was prohibited from distributing religious literature in a public airport.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Airports are not public forums; therefore restrictions need only be reasonable.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

One need not ponder the contents of a leaflet or pamphlet in order mechanically to take it out of someone's hand, but one must listen, comprehend, decide, and act in order to respond to a solicitation.

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Facts. Petitioner participates in an annual “sankirtan” which is used to generate funds for the religion. Lee (Respondent) was the commissioner of the port authority in charge of implementing and enforcing the state regulation prohibiting solicitation in public airports.

Issue. Is an airport a public forum such that a regulation prohibiting solicitation in it violates the United States Constitution?

Held. No. This ban on solicitation is reasonable to prevent travelers from being interfered with unduly.

Discussion. The airport is not traditionally thought to be a public forum. The main purpose of the airport is to provide a place where people can embark upon their travel. They have no other choice than enter the airport and walk within it. To avoid Petitioner, travelers would have to walk around or find alternative means of travel. This infringement upon travel is a significant interest of the government that requires a degree of monitoring activity.

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