A Wednesday article in The Washington Post on a Supreme Court action should have said that Georgia's highest tribunal held that the property of the Vineville Presbyterian Church in Macon belonged to the majority members of the congregation who had voted to break away from the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide whether a preference for veterans in hiring and promotion in civil-service employment violates the Constitution.
The court will hear an appeal by Massachusetts from a 2-to-1 decision that the state civil-service law denies women equal protection by favoring former members of the armed forces. All but 2 percent of the state's veterans are men.
The case is important because, in addition to Massachusetts, 46 states and the federal government have veterans' preferences in their civil-service systems.
The court will hear argument in the case this winter and decide it by early July 1979. A key issue is whether the acknowledged discriminatory impact of the preference had been intended by the legislature in an impermissible way.
The court took other actions: SCHISM
In 1973, the congregation of Vineville Presbyterian Church in Macon, Ga., voted 165 to 94 to end its affiliation with the Augusta-Macon Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
In response, the Presbytery declared the loyal minority the "true congregation." The majority then affiliated with the Central Georgia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America, struck by 94 from the rolls, and took possession of the Vineville church's property.
Over the last five years, the Vineville factions have been locked in litigation over which is the "true congregation" and is thus entitled to continued use of the Vineville church's property.
Last April, Georgia's highest tribunal ruled that the courts should defer to a decision of a hierarchal church on which congregation is the "true" one. Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to review the ruling. PLEA BARGAINING
Acting in a plea-bargaining case from New York, the court granted a prisoner's petition to review a decision upholding a lengthened sentence imposed on him after he had called the sentencing judge a "dictator" and a "gangster" and accused him of an offensive sexual act.
Judge Gerald S. Held of Brooklyn had the prisoner, Harold Ramsey, now 26, gagged and jailed him for 30 days for contempt after the courtroom outburst in 1976. Ramsey's counsel, John Avanzino, said his client's conduct was inexcusable and the punishment appropriate.
The case began in 1975 when a state grand jury returned two robbery indictments against Ramsey. He made but repudiated an agreement to plead guilty to a single lesser charge and accept a prison term of 3 1/2 to 7 years.
Later, claiming innocence, Ramsey rejected a renewed offer of the same plea bargain - only to offer, a few minutes later, to plead guilty to a greater charge in exchange for a sentence of 6 to 12 years.
Not until he appeared for sentencing did Ramsey offer to explain his switches. Judge Held had "harassed" counsel Avanzino and "I was coerced," he told Held. "You also told my attorney if I have a new trial, you will give me 12 to 25 years," he said. Held then give him 6 to 12 years. It was at this proceeding that the outburst occurred.
Ramsey claims that Held, "gratuitously" warning that he could get up to 25 years, induced him to accept the 6-to-12-year term he'd just rejected, thus denying him due process of law. MARIJUANA
The court agreed to review a ruling that Arkansas police officers, although having probable cause to believe marijuana to be in the unlocked suitcase of a cab occupant, shouldn't have seized the luggage from the trunk. The suspect hadn't resisted the seizure.