Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Absolute Immunity


Not a good day for AP. This article asserts that “Alito defended the right of government officials to order domestic wiretaps when he worked for the Reagan Justice Department.” Wrong. Nothing in Alito’s memo remotely suggests that the government officials had a “right” to order the wiretaps at issue. The legal question was whether officials who ordered illegal wiretaps were immune from private civil damages actions. And Alito’s understanding of that legal question appears to have been exactly the same as the Carter administration’s.

The AP story also declares that the “incremental legal strategy [that Alito proposed on this issue] is consistent with the approach Alito advocated on chipping away abortion rights.” Imagine that! A government lawyer who thinks strategically about how to achieve the goals of the Administration he serves. What new disclosures will AP make?

AP quotes Senator Leahy as stating that these documents “deepen the impression of activism that colors Judge Alito’s career”. What nonsense. Does Leahy really pretend not to understand that an attorney should actively advance the interests of his client?


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