Alito memos show support for expansion of police powers

[JURIST] Documents released Monday [DOJ news advisory] by the US Justice Department show that Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. [White House profile] was actively involved in efforts to expand law enforcement powers while employed as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration's Justice Department. The memos show that Alito argued for stronger penalties for violent civil rights violations; that lawyers from the Internal Revenue Service should not be blocked from making secret tapes as part of a federal criminal investigation; that proposed rules of professional responsibility that would have precluded investigation of an individual without a "good faith belief" that the person was involved in criminal activity were too broad to enable prosecutors to pursue legitimate leads; that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] should have broad latitude to investigate federal employees; that it might be permissible for the FBI to compile fingerprint and identifying information on Iranian and Afghan refugees who had entered Canada as a mandate against terrorism; and that a draft of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] failed to reflect "the traditional American aversion towards state intervention in child-rearing practices" claiming it infringed on the right of state governments to set policies on matters such as child welfare standards. The memos follow the release earlier this month of Alito's 1985 application [PDF] for the deputy assistant attorney general position which provided some insight into Alito's views on abortion [JURIST report] and reapportionment [JURIST report]. Tuesday's New York Times has more.

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