The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide if a state law barring the media from disclosing the names of alleged victims of sexual assault violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.
The court will hear arguments this term in a case brought by a Florida newspaper seeking review of state court rulings that upheld the law.The case concerns the constitutionality of a Florida law that makes it a crime to publish or broadcast the "name, address, or any other identifying fact or information of the victim of any sexual offense."
Such information about crime victims is generally considered public information, open to not only public viewing but also to newspaper or broadcast reporting.
While the Supreme Court has held in a number of cases that the news media may not be barred from printing such material, the media generally give special treatment to those who say they are the victims of sex crimes. The news media rarely reveals the names of victims regardless of the outcome of the case.
In other action, the court:
* Agreed to review the constitionality of a version of the Miranda warnings given to crime suspects that has been struck down as misleading by several courts.
* Took up a case involving passengers of the Achille Lauro, the Mediterranean cruise ship hijacked by terrorists in October 1985. At issue is a technical legal matter that could determine where the passengers' damage suit against the ship owner will be tried.
* Will decide in a key discrimination case how long employees have to file lawsuits challenging discriminatory seniority systems.
* Let stand a ruling that migrant workers who harvest cucumbers for pickling are protected by a federal law requiring fair treatment of employees. The court rejected an appeal by a Wisconsin farm-owning couple who said the migrants are "independent contractors" not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
* Rejected industry challenges to federal environmental rules governing the use of high smokestacks to disperse air pollution.
* Refused to hear the appeal of convicted killer Alton Coleman, who terrorized the Midwest during a 1984 crime spree with his girlfriend, Debra Brown.