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High court roughs in caseload

The Supreme Court agreed to rule on whether the secretary of state may revoke the passport of a controversial former CIA agent Philip Agee, on grounds he is a national-security risk. Mr. Agee, who now lives in Hamburg, is a vehement critic of the US intelligence agency, and has disclosed the names of nearly 1, 000 CIA agents and other alleged national- security secrets in two books and several articles.

In other decisions, the court:

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* Refused to step into the 10-year-old controversy over school busing in Detroit.

* Agreed to review the constitutionality of key portions of the federal strip-mining law requiring reclamation of mined land.

* Agreed to consider how far the government can go in protecting workers from on-the-job health hazards and make a second try at defining the power of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to limit occupational exposure to chemicals and other substances.

* Agreed to consider if the federal election law violates the right of free speech and political association by limiting contributions to political action committees.

* Let stand a ruling that the federal government may require states to provide jobless benefits for state and local government employees.

* Refused to hear a challenge that the National Organization for Women violated anti-trust laws by declaring a boycott against the State of Missouri for not ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

The outpouring of orders followed a week of private conferences by the justices as they decided which cases to add to the more than 70 already scheduled for argument during this nine-month term. Several thousand more cases will arrive during the term, and by February another 70 to 80 will be chosen for review.