No-nonsense, double-sunglassed chief pilot Rex Kramer (Robert Stack) shoves, punches and tosses donation solicitors–including a Hare Krishna (David Leisure)–blocking his path at a busy airport in the 1980 comedy Airplane!
Like much of the flick's now-dated humor (Airplane! was the best motion picture ever made about America in the 1970s), that scene will soon make no sense to modern viewers.
The California Supreme Court on Thursday barred the Hare Krishnas from soliciting
donations at Los Angeles International Airport, ending a long battle. The state's “other major airports” supported the LAX legal position, according to a CBS News report, so we can assume John Wayne Airport was in on the action.
A lawyer for the Krishnas says no further appeal appears possible.
“It's pretty conclusive and it doesn't look like there are any
loopholes,” David Liberman reportedly said. “As far as I can tell, it's over.”
After the LA City Council
passed an ordinance barring solicitations at the city-owned airport–on grounds that it was a reasonable security
measure to protect harried passengers rushing to make travel connections–the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of California filed a lawsuit in federal court in 1997.
council later changed the law to allow solicitations in designated areas
until the initial federal lawsuit was filed.
A U.S. District Court judge initially ruled in the Krishnas' favor, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked
the California Supreme Court to weigh in because it was a state
law rather than federal law being challenged.
The Supreme's unanimous ruling was written by Justice Carlos Moreno.
“Soliciting the immediate receipt of funds at a busy international
airport like LAX is particularly problematic,” Moreno wrote for the
court. “The problems posed by solicitations for the immediate receipt of
funds that arise in any public place would be exacerbated in the often
crowded and hectic environment of a large international airport.”
Hare Krishnas and other religious followers are still free to preach on airport property and
ask passengers to send in donations later, but they can't receive cash or checks on airport property.
Unless they want to help bring our bags from the curb, of course.