Open criminal trials affirmed by high court

The Supreme Court, closing out its 1979-80 term, ruled 7 to 1 Wednesday that criminal trials must be open to the press and public except under "overriding" circumstances. The court's ruling clarified, for actual trials, a previous one it made allowing a pretrial proceeding to be closed.

The tribunal also, on 6-to-3 vote, upheld the authority of Congress to set up special programs to remedy employment discrimination against minorities. It also handed the government a setback in efforts to reduce worker exposure to hazardous chemicals, ruling 5 to 4 that federal law does not require "absolute" safety in the workplace.

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