Court upholds FBI on Abscam
Washington — The Supreme Court let stand the convictions and prison sentences of four former congressmen in the FBI's controversial ''Abscam'' bribery operation. The court refused to hear appeals from the four. This means jail and heavy fines for former Democratic Reps. Raymond Lederer and Michael Myers of Pennsylvania, John Murphy of New York, and Frank Thompson of New Jersey. They were convicted for accepting payoffs from federal undercover agents posing as representatives of wealthy Arab sheikhs attempting to buy legislative influence.
The court also turned aside arguments that the bribery probe, which resulted in the convictions of six House members and Sen. Harrison Williams (D) of New Jersey, violated their constitutional immunity from prosecution for legislative acts.
In other action Tuesday, the justices:
* On a 5-to-4 vote, said married couples may be forced to sell their homes to pay overdue federal taxes, but said judges may block the sale if the debts are owed by only one spouse.
* Unanimously ruled in cases from Pennsylvania and New Jersey that the federal government has the power to collect misspent educational funds.
* Took up a challenge to the Reagan administration's easing of federal air pollution rules. The Environmental Protection Agency had redefined a pollution source as an entire plant, rather than specific parts of a plant.
* Ruled 9 to 0 that federal courts cannot overrule an arbitrator's settlement of a labor dispute simply because it interprets the union contract differently.