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


"What is the best way to balance the competing interests of national security and individual liberty in our post-9/11 world? To answer that question, Samuel Dash examines the factors that led to the Fourth Amendment's protection of the people against unreasonable searches and seizures. Covering almost eight hundred years of history, he begins with King John of England and the Magna Carta, then moves to early America as colonists resisted searches mandated under King George III. These tensions eventually contributed to the birth of the United States and the adoption of the Bill of Rights with its essential Fourth Amendment. The story of the next two centuries is how effective that protection has been as the U. S. developed "from sea to shining sea." Dash explores the struggle for privacy rights by relating dramatic legal battles throughout our history, including landmark Supreme Court cases. He reveals the sometimes humorous experiences of the people involved, such as the unlucky gambler with a shoplifting wife and the police lieutenant turned king of the bootleggers. It becomes clear that to some extent, judicial safeguarding of Fourth Amendment protections depended on which justices made up the majority of the Court at any given time. By 2001, a conservative majority of the Court had given law enforcement agents greater search and seizure authority than ever before. Dash challenges the legal justification of the Bush Administration's grab for extensive search, seizure, and wiretap powers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He reminds us of government abuses in prior emergencies in American history, and concludes that the best security is dedication to our belief in individual liberty and the enforcement of our Bill of Rights." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2004


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