The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to tackle a crucial school desegregation question -- whether the public, through state ballot initiatives, can ban or limit busing to achieve racial balance.
A major case before the justices concerns the constitutionality of a Washington State ballot measure that prohibits busing for desegregation purposes. The justices will hear an appeal by Washington and the Justice Department, which want the court to overturn a decision that declared the initiative unconstitutional. The case is important because it marks a major departure by the Reagan administration from the Carter administration's school desegregation policies.
Also, the high court agreed to hear a similar case focusing on California's Proposition 1, which limits state courts power to order busing and pupil reassignment for racial balance in public schools. In other action, the high court:
*Agreed to settle a censorship dispute over how much power local school boards have to order removal of books they find objectionalble from school libraries.
*Agreed to resolve a dispute over whether religious schools must forfeit their tax exemptions because of racially discriminatory enrollment policies.
*Cleared the way for extradition of an alleged Palestinian terrorist, accused of killing 38 people in a 1979 bombing in Israel. He has been held in a Chicago jail for two years since fleeing from Israel.