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International Society for Krishna Consciousness v. Lee

Running The Gamut

Any air traveler in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s will well remember being accosted in airports by representatives of numerous political and religious organizations. Among the most ubiquitous of such groups was the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKC), whose followers are obliged to perform an act known as "sankirtan." Sankirtan involves going into public places and distributing printed information and soliciting contributions for the ISKC. The members of the ISKC became so familiar a part of the landscape of airports in the United States that their presence became the focal point of humorous scenes in popular comedies such as the film Airplane. Although the followers of the ISKC were normally not aggressive in their solicitations, their presence caused anxiety among some travelers and caused already crowded air terminals to become even more congested.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is responsible for the operation of the International Arrivals Building at Kennedy Airport and the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport in New York City and the North Terminal Building at the Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey. In 1975, in order to relieve congestion at these facilities, and in response to customer complaints, the port authority adopted a regulation which prohibited the sales and distribution of literature and merchandise and solicitation of funds

within the interior areas of buildings or structures at an air terminal if conducted by a person to or with passers-by in a continuous or repetitive manner.
The new regulation amounted to a ban on sankirtan within the air terminals operated by the port authority.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994International Society for Krishna Consciousness v. Lee - Running The Gamut, Hare Krishna And The Public Forum Doctrine, Defining A Public Forum, Impact