March 25, 2010; Christian Science Monitor | Harried travelers running to catch a plane or make a connection at Los Angeles International Airport won’t have to worry about being stopped by Hare Krishnas asking for donations. The California Supreme Court effectively ended a 13-year legal battle brought by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness seeking the right, which the group claimed was theirs under the First Amendment, to solicit money inside airport terminals. “It’s pretty conclusive, and it doesn’t look like there are any loopholes. As far as I can tell, it’s over,” said the group’s lawyer, David Liberman.
Earlier court rulings—including one upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court—had already restricted Krishnas from soliciting in airports in New York City, as well as in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. The Christian Science Monitor notes that the California ruling still permits Krishnas to distribute literature in terminals and solicit donations from people before they enter the airport.
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Having used up all its legal challenges, perhaps the group should change tactics and suggest travelers with change in their pockets give it up to speed their trip through airport security.—Bruce Trachtenberg