Constitutional Inquisitors is a remarkable achievement, a careful, thorough, and compelling account of one of the great questions of our time: how did the public prosecutor emerge from being functionally nonexistent in England, to a minor state court figure, to arguably the most unchecked executive officer with more power over Americans' day-to-day lives and with a decisive role in constitutional interpretation. Ingram persuasively documents a turning point of accidents, necessity, and vacuum-filling in the first two decades of our republic, showing deep roots of the independence of law enforcement officials. This is a deeply important book for historical context of modern legal debates.
This compelling narrative marks a strikingly original contribution to the legal scholarship of the early republic. Ingram describes the colonial origins of the federal prosecutor and how this role developed as a legal actor over time. Along the way, he dives deeply into the major prosecutions of the Washington, Adams, and Jefferson presidencies to demonstrate that the rise of the federal prosecutor is intimately bound up with early national security–related cases.