USA

The Supreme Court asked lower federal courts Monday to reconsider sentences for hundreds of defendants who contend they were wrongly punished under an 18-year-old sentencing system the justices declared unconstitutional earlier this month. Under the ruling, guidelines are no longer mandatory, but "advisory." As a result, federal judges are free to sentence convicted criminals as they see fit, although they may be subject to reversal if appeals courts find them "unreasonable." In other opinions, the high court:

• rejected an appeal by Gov. Jeb Bush (R) of Florida that would have reinstated a state law that would keep Terry Schiavo, diagnosed as severely brain-damaged, connected to a feeding tube. Michael Schiavo, her husband, says he doesn't want her kept alive artificially.

• gave police broader search powers via a ruling that drug-sniffing dogs can be used in routine traffic stops.

Abortion opponents marked the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion with rallies, protests, and other activities. Each anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision, prompts demonstrations by opponents and proponents. This year, the issue takes on new urgency with the probability of at least one high court vacancy during President Bush's second term.

The Northeast was digging out Monday from a storm that dumped more than three feet of snow in some parts of Massachusetts and thrashed Nantucket island with 84 m.p.h. winds. Governors in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island declared states of emergency.

Comedian and talk-show host Johnny Carson, who died Sunday in Malibu, Calif., was best known as the king of late-night TV, using monologues, skits, and celebrity interviews to entertain "Tonight Show" audiences for 30 years. Carson retired in 1992.

The Philadelphia Eagles, one of the NFL's most frustrated teams, and the New England Patriots, currently the league's most successful, advanced to the Feb. 6 Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., with convincing wins in Sunday's conference championship games. After losing the NFC title game each of the past three seasons, the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons, 27-10. The Patriots, who've won two of the last three Super Bowls, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 41-27, for the AFC championship.

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