The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that followers of the Falun Gong modern spiritual practice cannot use a provision of federal law to designate their protest sites as places of worship in order to avoid counter-demonstrations in Queens.

The decision, from a three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based appeals court, overturned a 2018 ruling by the late Brooklyn federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein, who held on summary judgment that five tables the group had set up on a Queens sidewalk qualified as a “place of religious worship” under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

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