Private colleges and free speech

In a major test of freedom of speech and academic freedom, the US Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether private colleges must allow outsiders to express views on campus, correspondent Julia Malone reports. The court said it will hear a case in which a member of the US Labor Party is seeking to force Princeton University to allow him to hand out literature on school property.

In other action, the court:

* Strengthened the Fifth Amendment guarantee that an accused criminal cannot be forced to give evidence against himself, voting unanimously to overturn a robbery and murder conviction of a man who had confessed to police after first refusing to answer their questions.

* Ruled that testimony of a psychiatrist could not be used against a Texas man convicted of murder. The psychiatrist had interviewed the man without the presence of a lawyer before the trial, and the interview was used as evidence that the death penalty should be imposed.

* Gave approval to private pension plans that reduce benefits if workers' compensation payments have been made.

* Rebuffed a prisoner's charge that he had been denied civil rights because two mail order hobby kits had been lost by Nebraska officials.

* Dropped a case, Webb v. Webb, involving a custody dispute between divorced parents who live in Georgia and Florida, respectively. The case could have had a major effect in the area of parental rights, but the justices found that it did not properly raise a federal question.

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