Court rulings mixed on lead safety

The American metals industry won one and lost one in challenges to federal safety rules in the US Supreme Court, Monitor correspondent Julia Malone reports.

The court postponed some of the strict new standards set by the Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration limiting the amount of atmospheric lead that workers may be exposed to. At the same time, it refused to hear a challenge to community air quality standards for lead as set under the Clean Air Act, despite claims that the rules would force many lead plants to close.

In other action, the court agreed to hear a charge by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt that Ohio used selective prosecution tactics when it convicted him of peddling obscenity.

The court also ordered California to return a jail escapee to Arkansas. The fugitive, Richard F. Pacileo, had charged that Arkansas prison conditions constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and California's high court agreed to inquire into the prison conditions. The Supreme Court, with Justice Thurgood Marshall dissenting, ruled that the inmate would have to bring his charges in Arkansas courts.

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