The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to review the federal requirement that television networks sell political advertising time to candidates.
The case stems from the refusal by the three major networks to sell 30 minutes of air time last December to President Carter so he could announce his candidacy for reelection. The networks contended it was too early in the presidential contest for the sale of such a large chunk of time.
The Federal Communications Commission, responding to a challenge by the Carter campaign committee, ruled the networks had violated federal communications law mandating "reasonable access" to air time for candidates.
ABC, NBC and CBS yesterday won Supreme Court review of their argument that the FCC ruling unconstitutionally interfered with editorial judgment.
That reasoning had been rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which found the networks had improperly adopted across-the-board policies for rejecting advertising, rather than tailoring their responses to requests of individual candidates.
In other action yesterday, the court:
Agreed to consider how far educational institutions have to go in providing extra help for the handicapped. The court will review a ruling requiring the University of Texas to furnish an interpreter to assist a deaf graduate student in classes.
The case (University of Texas vs. Camenisch), testing provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 barring discrimination against the handicapped, could have a major impact on controversies across the country over how much money should be spent to make things easier for handicapped people in public institutions.
Refused the pretrial appeal of former representative Michael Myers, who was convicted of taking a $50,000 bribe during the FBI Abscam investigation. wMyers' appeal, filed in an effort to have his indictment thrown out, said the charges and the investigation constituted an illegal intrusion by the executive branch into the affairs of Congress.
The Abscam probe was designed to "tempt and lure congressman to violate the law," he argued.
The court rejected the appeal without comment yesterday. Myers is also appealing his conviction, his expulsion from Congress as a result of the conviction and court rulings releasing the videotapes of his actions to television networks. Those appeals are separate from the one rejected yesterday.
Agreed to rule on the accommodations employers must make for employes who take time off from jobs to participate in the military reserves. The case (Monroe vs. Standard Oil of Ohio) stemmed from Standard's refusal to pay Roger Monroe, a reservist, for 192 hours of work he missed while on military duty.
Accepted a sex discrimination case (County of Washington vs. Gunther) brought by Washington County, Ore., jail matrons, who successfully argued in the lower courts for a trial of charges that they were illegally paid less than male guards.
Agreed to decide whether church-related schools must pay taxes to state employment compensation programs.
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled (in St. Martin Church vs. South Dakota) last year that the Lutheran Church must pay the tax despite its contention that it violates religious freedom.