WASHINGTON - State and local governments received a mixed message from the Supreme Court during the 1991-92 term, reflecting a court that has not yet coalesced behind a single approach to deciding cases.

"I detect a court that is just beginning to gel, but has not yet determined a course," said Geoffrey P. Miller, Kirkland & Ellis professor at the University of Chicago Law School. "There appear to be three power centers on the court, and what we're seeing is some jockeying. It's uncertain which of the three will become dominant."

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