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Right of search in autos widened

By With Analysis From Monitor Correspondents Around The World, Edited By Anne Shutt / June 2, 1982



Washington

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday on issues covering age and racial discrimination, generic drugs, police authority, and grapefruit juice.

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The court dramatically expanded the power of police to search items they find in cars, ruling 6 to 3 that any container in a car--from a paper bag to a suitcase--is liable to be inspected without a warrant.

Another ruling rejected an appeal by white city fathers of a Southern town charging that federal officials ''racially gerrymandered'' the city limits to boost black voting strength.

The court refused to disturb a major age discrimination ruling that declares United Airlines cannot refuse to hire pilots older than 35.

Also rejected were challenges to a law requiring all containers of 100 percent Florida grapefruit juice to display the state's name or the ''sunshine tree'' insignia.

On a 9-to-0 vote, the court set aside a ruling that would have barred generic drugs from being sold in the same size, shape, and color as leading brand-name products.

In another decision, the court reversed a lower court ruling declaring unconstitutional provisions of a 1978 law on public utilities. The law, known as the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, was part of a legislative package designed to combat the nationwide energy crisis.