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Alito likely to face questions on illegal wiretapping memo

[JURIST] US Senate Juduciary Committee ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy suggested [press release] Friday that US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [JURIST archive] will face additional questions at his January confirmation hearing on unchecked presidential authority and the particular issue of warrantless eavesdropping after the US National Archives earlier Friday released a 1984 Justice Department memo Alito wrote expressing the view that the Attorney General should be immune from suit over illegal wiretaps [PDF text]. The memo was written in connection with a Reagan-era case involving wiretaps ordered by former Attorney General John Mitchell during an investigation into a suspected plot to kidnap National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Alito's position could prove to be especially controversial in light of recent disclosures that after September 11 President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct domestic surveillance on American residents, a program the legality of which has been vigorously defended by the administration but disputed by Democrats [JURIST report] and a variety of academic experts [JURIST Forum article]. Bloomberg has more. Other Alito materials released Friday by the National Archives included a 1985 memo in which Alito appeared to endorse the overturning of Roe v. Wade [JURIST report].

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