The Law: Turmoil on Taps

Whatever else the Nixon Administration may think of radical protesters, it takes them very seriously. Departing Attorney General John Mitchell has made no secret of the fact that he would like to use wiretaps at will whenever the Justice Department is investigating any groups it considers "committed to the use of illegal methods to bring about changes in our form of government." But what the Justice Department wants and what the courts approve are often two different things. Thus last week the department found itself in the Supreme Court, defending its desire to wiretap.

The case at issue derives from the bombing...