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Expected Gramm-Rudman Ruling Is Not Announced

From a Times Staff Writer

The Supreme Court, as scheduled, announced decisions Monday--but contrary to the anticipation of many in the courtroom, the justices did not rule on the legality of the new federal budget-balancing law.

ABC News had reported Sunday night that the next day the court would announce its widely awaited ruling on the Gramm-Rudman budget-balancing act and would hold 7 to 2, in an opinion by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, that the automatic deficit-reduction provisions of the law are unconstitutional.

News “leaks” of such information from the court are very rare, because knowledge of impending decisions is ordinarily restricted to the justices, their clerks and key personnel who process the court’s rulings.

Sunday’s report was broadcast by ABC’s Tim O’Brien, who over the years has aired three other stories on impending decisions. After a story in 1979 about a forthcoming libel decision by the justices, an investigation was launched at the court and a printing office employee subsequently was transferred to another post.

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A court spokesman, Toni House, declined comment on Sunday’s report and refused to say whether the court was seeking the source of the apparent leak. ABC said its story was correct and that a decision would be issued shortly.


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