The Intruders: Unreasonable Searches and Seizures from King John to John Ashcroft

By Samuel Dash | Go to book overview

PROLOGUE

The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the
Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may
enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dare not
cross the threshold of the ruined tenement

William Pitt, in the House of Commons, 1766

A little more than two hundred years after Pitt made this remarkable declaration in Parliament, the force of a U.S. president unlawfully broke into the homes and offices of private citizens, searched for and seized their private papers, and wiretapped and bugged their private conversations. By then, the country was approaching the two hundredth anniversary of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which proclaims, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”

Richard Nixon’s violations of the Fourth Amendment and his betrayal of public trust in his obstructions of justice to cover up his crimes are branded for all times under the label of “Watergate.” They so shocked the people of the United States that millions of them responded in written protests of outrage to the White House and to Congress. That protest and the articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee led to the unprecedented resignation of the president.

When the Senate Watergate Committee held televised public hearings on the Watergate scandal in the summer of 1973, John Ehrlichman, second

-1-

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The Intruders: Unreasonable Searches and Seizures from King John to John Ashcroft
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Legend of the Magna Carta 11
  • Chapter 2 - Wilkes and Liberty 26
  • Chapter 3 - A Flame of Fire 36
  • Chapter 4 - The Plate-Glass Duty Fraud Case 46
  • Chapter 5 - The Exclusionary Rule 57
  • Chapter 6 - The Case of the [Whispering Wires] 72
  • Chapter 7 - Dolly Mapp 93
  • Chapter 8 - Smothering the Flame 105
  • Chapter 9 - War on Terror: Security and Liberty 132
  • Notes 153
  • Index 165
  • About the Author 173
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