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Lee v. International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
505 U.S. 830 (1992)


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns and operates three major airports in the New York City area and controls terminals at the airports. The airports were funded by user fees and were operated to make a profit. The terminals were generally accessible to the public and contained restaurants and snack stands, bars, newsstands, and stores. Most people who came to the terminals were airline or terminal employees, or they were at the terminals for air-travel-related purposes, such as taking a flight or accompanying passengers. The Port Authority adopted a regulation forbidding the repetitive solicitation of money and the distribution of literature within the terminals. However, the Port Authority permitted solicitation and distribution on the sidewalks outside the terminal buildings. International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. (ISKCON) (plaintiff) is a religious group whose members solicit funds and distribute literature in public places to support its movement. ISKCON brought an action against Walter Lee (defendant), a Port Authority official, in federal district court on the grounds that the regulation abridged the group’s First Amendment rights. The district court granted summary judgment to ISKCON. The court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, upholding the solicitation ban and striking down the distribution ban. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. In a separate opinion, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992), the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s judgment upholding the solicitation ban.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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