In April, 141 people came to FIRE when their rights were in jeopardy.

Hear their stories — and how we're fighting back — by subscribing today.

First Amendment Library:
Arthur P. Berg


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark airports, adopted regulations prohibiting persons or groups from soliciting money or distributing literature within the terminals. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a not-for-profit religious corporation whose members perform a ritual known as sankirtan, which consists of going into public places, disseminating literature, and soliciting funds to support the religion. The Society challenged the Port Authority's regulations on the grounds that the regulations deprived the Society's members of their free speech rights under the First Amendment. The trial court ruled in favor of the Society, holding that the airports were public forums and that the regulations were too broad. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the airports were not public forums and that the ban on solicitations was reasonable. The Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the trial court's ruling that the ban on distributing literature violated the First Amendment. When evaluating a governmental regulation of speech on government-owned property, the property first must be categorized as a traditional public forum, a designated public forum, or a nonpublic forum. Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators' Assn., 460 U.S. 37 (1983). Traditional public forums are places, such as streets and sidewalks, where public discourse and debate have traditionally occurred. Designated public forums are places, such as university auditoriums, that the government has expressly opened to certain types of expression. Nonpublic forums are all other government-owned property. Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788 (1985). Any regulation of speech in a public forum, traditional or designated, must be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling governmental interest. A regulation of speech in a nonpublic forum, however, need only be reasonable and content-neutral. Perry Education Ass'n. v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n., 460 U.S. 37 (1983).


505 U.S. 830 (1992) LEE, SUPERINTENDENT OF PORT AUTHORITY POLICE v. INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC., et al. No. 91-339. United States Supreme Court. Argued March 22, 1992. Decided June 26, 1992. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT Arthur P. Berg argued the cause for petitioner. With him… Read more