The Supreme Court: Fundamental Choice

By ruling against the Government in a set of appeals last week, the Supreme Court imposed upon Government lawyers a fundamental choice for many future cases. A 5-to-3 majority of the Justices declared, in effect, that the Government must show an accused man the records of any illegal bugging or wiretapping made on his private conversations, or on any talks that took place on his premises. Either that, or the Government must drop the prosecution altogether.

The appeals involved two men who were convicted of conspiring to transmit U.S. defense secrets to the Soviet Union—an American engineer named John Butenko...

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