The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

State Supreme Court to Hear Krishna LAX Free Speech Case

By: for Daily Breeze on Jan. 9, 2010
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Photo Credits: Daily Breeze
But the only place the 59-year-old Hare Krishna is going is from person to person, offering a friendly handshake, some small talk and a colorfully illustrated Bhagavad Gita.

With his navy peacoat and rolling canvas bag, Jeff Solomon looks like any other traveler on the departure deck outside LAX's Bradley International Terminal.


But the only place the 59-year-old Hare Krishna is going is from person to person, offering a friendly handshake, some small talk and a colorfully illustrated Bhagavad Gita.


"A very important part of our faith is to try to share it with other people," said Solomon, who has worked at the busy airport for more than 36 years.


"It's a fabulous venue," the soft-spoken Solomon said. "We have access to many people from all over the world, all here in one place."


That is why the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California has fought so hard - and for so long - for the right to speak and solicit donations at Los Angeles International Airport.


On Wednesday, a pivotal hearing in the nonprofit organization's 12-year legal battle against the city of Los Angeles comes before the state Supreme Court in San Francisco.


The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the seven justices to decide if LAX is a public forum under the liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution - and, if so, whether a current ordinance regulating solicitors there violates that clause.


How the state's high court rules on the issue will greatly impact how the Ninth Circuit ultimately decides the case.


While the issue is an important one at LAX, the case will
likely have far-reaching effects on other locations, such as entertainment and sports complexes, retail centers and even the Internet, experts say.


David Liberman, a longtime attorney for the Hare Krishnas, said the case boils down to whether or not free speech activities interfere with the facility's purpose.


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