AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS v. JEWS FOR JESUS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
86-104
Petitioner 
Airport Commissioners
Respondent 
Jews for Jesus
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause pro hac vice for the respondents)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

The Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles adopted an ordinance which prohibited all "First Amendment activities" in the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Alan Snyder, a minister with Jews for Jesus, was instructed by an airport officer to refrain from distributing free religious literature on a walkway in the central terminal of LAX.

Question 

Did the Los Angeles ordinance violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Jews for Jesus, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

Yes. Using the "First Amendment overbreadth doctrine," which allows an individual to challenge a statute on its face which is potentially threatening to others, the Court found that the ordinance violated the Constitution. Justice O'Connor argued that the rule was vague, overly broad, and would have effectively prohibited activities such as reading, talking, or wearing expressive shirts or political buttons in the LAX terminal. Allowing such an ordinance, which touched "the universe of expressive activity" in its totality, would have caused LAX to become a "First Amendment Free Zone," according to O'Connor.

Cite this Page
AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS v. JEWS FOR JESUS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_86_104>.
AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS v. JEWS FOR JESUS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_86_104 (last visited July 23, 2014).
"AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS v. JEWS FOR JESUS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_86_104.