High court lets gender equity rulings stand
April 21, 1997
Web posted at: 1:39 p.m. EDT (1739 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday let stand
without comment rulings that Brown University discriminated
against its women athletes by stripping funding from its
women's varsity volleyball and gymnastics teams.
Lower court rulings held that Brown violated Title IX, a
1972 law that bans discrimination in education based on
The Providence, Rhode Island, school cut the programs as part
of a budget reduction that also eliminated the men's varsity
golf and water polo programs in 1991. The move affected 37
male athletes and 23 female athletes.
Some of the affected women filed suit against the university.
Brown's attorneys had argued that the school would be forced
to "cut academic offerings (or) cut teams for men" to avoid
liability or loss of federal funds under Title IX.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that "any determination
of non-discrimination must .. compare the participation
opportunities provided for men with those provided for
women." This does not, they said, constitute a "quota" or
An appeals court held that schools must have "gender parity
between its student body and its athletic lineup" or show
strong progress in that direction. When the case went to
trial in 1993, 51 percent of Brown's student body were women,
while only 38 percent of its intercollegiate varsity athletes
In other action Monday, the court:
Turned down without comment appeals by six Branch
Davidians convicted on various charges stemming from the gun
battle that began the 1993 standoff between the cult and
federal agents near Waco, Texas. Six Davidians and four
federal agents were killed in the gun battle. The 51-day
standoff ended on April 19, when fire gutted the cult's
compound, killing 79 members.
Ruled unanimously that parents cannot sue states to force
compliance with a federal child-support enforcement program.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the court that the
federal program was a "yardstick" to measure state programs'
Rejected the government's attempt to force Texaco to pay
at least $1 billion in taxes on Saudi Arabian oil it sold
between 1979 and 1981. The Saudis sold the oil for lower
prices than other oil-producing countries during that time,
and Texaco's international subsidiaries earned substantial
profits by buying at the lower price and selling at a higher
market price after the oil was refined.
Let stand without comment a $1 million libel judgment
against ABC-TV for a report that claimed a Georgia county's
citizens were stuck with the bill for a garbage-recycling
machine that was supposed to pay for itself with user fees.
ABC reported that the machine "did not work." The machine's
manufacturer, Lundell Manufacturing Co., sued. ABC said it
meant the machine did not work as promised because it was not
Set aside a ruling that would have forced the government
to pay an aerospace company more than $100 million for
infringement of a satellite-technology patent. The high court
ordered an appeals court to take another look at the case --
involving Hughes Aircraft's patent for controlling satellite
orientation -- in light of last month's ruling clarifying an
element of patent law dealing with the similarity of
Asked the Justice Department to comment on a lawsuit
accusing the maker of an artificial eye lens of causing
injuries to those wearing the implant. The court will decide
whether to grant a full review of an appeals court ruling --
which reinstated the lawsuit after a lower court dismissed it
-- after hearing the government's views.
Agreed to decide if acceptance of a severance package
precludes workers' ability to claim they were illegally
forced to quit because of their age.
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