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Court upholds ban on Hare Krishna soliciting in LAX airport

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that an LAX airport ban on solicitation in its terminals – challenged by a Hare Krishna group – is legal. It's the latest legal setback for the group.

The California Supreme Court ruled today that Los Angeles International Airport, pictured here, can ban Hare Krishnas from soliciting in LAX airport terminals.

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The California Supreme Court today upheld a Los Angeles International Airport ordinance barring Hare Krishnas from soliciting donations inside airport terminals.

This ruling is apparently the final defeat in 13-year legal effort by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to secure the right to solicit in LAX airport under the First Amendment. But after two decades of legal challenges against similar measures in other airports nationwide, it also points to the religious organizations' narrowing legal options.

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the LAX restriction on solicitation is constitutional. The Hare Krishnas' lawyer, David Liberman, told the Associated Press that this may be the end of the legal line.

“It’s pretty conclusive, and it doesn’t look like there are any loopholes,” Mr. Liberman said. “As far as I can tell, it’s over.”

The Hare Krishnas' legal trail has stretched back over two decades.

In 1992, ISKCON brought 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 district court and losing in circuit court, ISKCON lost its case in the US Supreme Court.

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