Justices Bar U.S. Role in Abortion, Bias Cases

From a Times Staff Writer

The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to permit the Reagan Administration to participate in oral arguments in its forthcoming term in two politically charged cases involving abortion and claims of reverse discrimination.

The Justice Department, as a “friend of the court,” has urged the court in one case to overturn its landmark 1973 ruling making abortion legal.

In the other, in the same role, it is supporting a group of white teachers in Jackson, Mich., who say they were improperly dismissed to protect the jobs of black teachers with less seniority.

In each case, the parties the government is supporting refused to yield parts of their alloted time for argument, and the government asked the court to grant additional time. Participation by government lawyers would have extended the time for arguments beyond the one-hour period the court ordinarily allows in each case. The government’s requests were denied.

Justice Department officials minimized the significance of the action, pointing out that such requests are rarely granted and that the court still could rule in favor of the government’s position.


The court’s 1985-86 term begins on Oct. 7, with arguments on the abortion issue scheduled for Nov. 5 and the reverse discrimination case on Nov. 6.