Court Won't Review Leafletting Case

The Associated Press/February 19, 2002

Washington -- The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to review a ban on leafletting in Philadelphia train stations.

Two people who wanted to hand out religious pamphlets to subway riders had asked the court to consider whether train stations are public forums, where people can practice their religion. Justices refused without comment.

The board that oversees transportation in the Philadelphia area has rules that prohibit activity on platforms and in other areas of stations. People can hand out literature outside the stations.

Nicholas Storti and Michael Perez had sued the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them, finding that the authority's rules are reasonable, nondiscriminatory and constitutional.

The authority had also been sued in 1975 by Hare Krishnas. As part of an agreement in that case, members of the Hindu sect were allowed to dance and hand out flowers inside train stations. In 1999, the authority changed the rules to apply to all groups.

Storti and Perez also wanted the Supreme Court to consider if it was unconstitutional for Hare Krishnas to be allowed in stations, while other groups were turned away from 1975 to 1999.

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