Supreme Court seeks middle ground on job bias cases _lowres

In this Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, people wait to enter the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court could put the brakes on the Obama administration's growing crackdown against companies facing claims of discrimination against women, minorities and other protected groups. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems to be searching for a middle ground in a debate over the government’s strategy for addressing claims of job discrimination in the workplace.

The justices heard arguments Tuesday in a case that pits the Obama administration against business groups that say the government is too quick to bring expensive lawsuits against companies instead of trying to negotiate settlements.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a legal duty to try settling cases first, but the question is how much can a court peer into those negotiations to make sure the EEOC acts in good faith.

Government attorneys say courts should have no role in probing confidential settlement talks. But most justices said there should be some way to make sure the government is not being unreasonable.