Regulation of speech on government property that is traditionally available for public expression is subject to the highest scrutiny. Such regulations survive only if they are narrowly drawn to achieve a compelling state interest. The second category of public property is the designated public forum, whether of a limited or unlimited character - property that the state opens for expressive activity by part or all of the public. Regulation of such property is subject to the same limitations as that governing a traditional public forum. Finally, there is all remaining public property. Limitations on expressive activity conducted on this last category of property must survive only a much more limited review. The challenged regulation need only be reasonable, as long as the regulation is not an effort to suppress the speaker's activity due to disagreement with the speaker's view.
Petitioner religious group sought a declaratory judgment that a regulation limiting distribution of literature and solicitation at an airport to areas outside the terminals violated the Right to Free Speech and sought an injunction preventing respondent police superintendent from enforcing the regulation. The lower court granted petitioner's motion as to distribution of literature, but denied it as to solicitation. On appeal, the court affirmed.
Is a regulation prohibiting repetitive solicitation of money within airport terminals constitutional?
Airports were not traditional public forums because their traditional purpose was not to promote the free exchange of ideas but to facilitate air travel. Therefore, the regulation needed only to be reasonable. The regulation was reasonable because it promoted respondent's interest in crowd control and efficient air travel by limiting solicitation to the areas outside of the airport terminals.