December 23, 2005


Alito Said Attorneys General Can't Be Sued for Illegal Wiretaps (Bloomberg, 12/23/05)

Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito wrote in a 1984 memo that U.S. attorneys general should be immune from being sued for ordering illegal wiretaps.

Even so, Alito, then a Justice Department lawyer, recommended against pressing the claim in a case involving 1970s wiretaps ordered by former Attorney General John Mitchell to investigate a suspected plot to kidnap National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and blow up utility tunnels in Washington.

``I do not question that the attorney general should have this immunity, but for tactical reasons I would not raise the issue here,'' Alito wrote in the June 12, 1984, memo to then-U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee. ``I start from the premise that absolute immunity arguments are difficult to advance successfully.''

Instead, Alito, then an assistant to the solicitor general, recommended the government ask the Supreme Court to allow the Justice Department to appeal a lower court's ruling that Mitchell could be sued over the wiretapping.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 23, 2005 11:54 AM
Comments for this post are closed.