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Ruling on Sex Bias

THE United States Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, has put the burden on employers to disprove sexual stereotyping when they are accused of discriminating against women. The justices on Monday ordered further lower court hearings in a suit against the accounting firm Price Waterhouse. Plaintiff Ann Hopkins said she was denied a partnership because of ``macho'' attitudes that her behavior was not sufficiently ladylike. The ruling also is a partial victory for Price Waterhouse: The court overturned a lower court ruling that would have placed an even heavier burden of proof on the company.

In other action on taken Monday:

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The court ruled 5-4 that lawyers may not be forced by federal law to represent poor people in noncriminal federal cases.

The court agreed to review a challenge to the partial merger of Detroit's two daily newspapers. The justices said they will judge the validity of former Attorney General Edwin Meese's decision to allow the newspapers to form a joint operating agreement.

The court also agreed to hear a Bush administration appeal aimed at allowing the government to collect potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes from multinational corporations. A ruling involving Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company allows multinational companies to use foreign tax laws to reduce their US taxes.

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