SWP Sues U.S. Government For Violation of Civil Rights

The Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance filed suit July 18 charging the federal government with violation of their constitutional rights.

Among high government officials named in the suit are President Nixon, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aide John D. Ehrlichman, Eric M. Lieberman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said yesterday.

The suit charges that various agencies of the government committed acts of wiretapping, mail tampering, burglary and harassment against the socialist groups, their supporters and candidates for elected office.

Lieberman said that these government activities violated the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. He claimed that the government had infringed upon the socialist's First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and the right to run for public office.

The alleged burglaries and unauthorized opening of letters violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from making unreasonable searches of people and their property, he said.

By subjecting the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) to harassment tactics not usually used against other parties, the government denied the SWP equal protection under the law, which is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, Lieberman said.