William Cuddihy’s The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning 602-1791
posted by Daniel Solove
I’m delighted to announce the publication of William J. Cuddihy’s The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning 602 – 1791 (Oxford University Press, January 2009). The book has just come out in print, hot off the press, and it’s an absolutely essential volume for any scholar of constitutional history, criminal procedure, or the Fourth Amendment.
Cuddihy’s book is the most comprehensive history of the Fourth Amendment I’ve ever read. It spans over 1000 years of history, tracing the origins of the concepts underpinning the Fourth Amendment from the Middle Ages to the Founding. It clocks in at 940 pages, but much of the heft comes from the extensive footnoting and detailed appendices. The book it is highly readable and contains a wealth of information and insight into the intellectual history of the Fourth Amendment and its original meaning. It comes with a high price tag, but I can assure you that it’s worth every penny.
I first encountered the book as an unpublished manuscript (which was completed over 15 years ago) when I was doing research into the history of the Fourth Amendment. I kept seeing it cited in articles and judicial opinions (it was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court a few times) and so I tracked it down. I couldn’t believe that this detailed, exhaustive, and immensely valuable research had never been published. William Cuddihy wrote it while a doctoral student under the late eminent legal historian Leonard Levy. I contacted Cuddihy and helped him find a publisher. And so I’m delighted that the manuscript is now in print, revised, updated, and with an afterward that responds to scholarship by Akhil Amar and Thomas Davies. I wrote a short preface for the book, in which I conclude:
No other work on the Fourth Amendment has synthesized so many sources, let alone done so as deftly and clearly as Professor Cuddihy’s The Fourth Amendment: Origins and Original Meaning 602-1791. I am very honored to introduce it.
Get your copy today. Tell your librarian to get a copy for your school’s library. It’s truly an impressive book, and is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the Fourth Amendment.