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The notion that the U.S. Supreme Court of today should defer to the intent of the framers of the Constitution is "little more than arrogance cloaked as humility," charged Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr. in a speech this month.

Instead, he said, the Court must apply the Constitution's "great principles to cope with current problems and current needs."

Recently, such federal officials as Attorney General Edwin Meese 3rd and Secretary of Education William J. Bennett have criticized the Court for straying from the framers' intent.

"Our distance of two centuries cannot help but work as a prism refracting all we perceive," said Justice Brennan, an Eisenhower appointee who this year wrote the Court's opinion in two cases affirming the separation of religion and public education.


James R. Ross, principal of the Copper Ridge Elementary School in Tennessee and an evaluator for the state's career-ladder program during the 1984-85 school year, has been criticized by state education officials for conducting workshops to help public-school administrators succeed in the program.

"I think it is a little mercenary for a principal to capitalize on such an important subject when we're trying to improve esprit de corps," said Robert McElrath, the state education commissioner.

Mr. Ross said he had conducted five workshops statewide for about 35 administrators and supervisors entering the career ladder. He started the workshops, he said, to make money and because the evaluation system is "too secret."

Mr. McElrath said all of the participants in the career ladder this year are being sent orientation manuals so that they know the basis on which the evaluations are made.

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