I kind of feel bad for the Third Amendment to the US Constitution. To my knowledge, it’s never, ever cited, and that makes me feel like it’s the forgotten stepchild of the Bill of Rights.
I mean, thankfully, since the US has rarely been attacked on its’ own soil (take the War of 1812, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 as examples), the issue has rarely reared it’s head. If you deploy troops, say for a modern example like Hurricane Katrina or wildfire fighting, you put them up in hotels or provide them tents to live in.
I have never heard of a debate over the Third Amendment like I have for the 2nd, or the 1st. Hell, even 9th and 10th get cited occasionally by the Supreme Court.
But nobody gives a damn about the taboo of putting soldiers in private homes. I guess it’s such an archaic law, it just never gets exercised. . .
Man, I think this is the most mundane thread I’ve ever started.
I remember when I first learned about the 3rd Amendment in school, it was very shortly after we had learned the term “drawn and quartered”. So I thought it meant that no soldier could be cut into 4 pieces in anyone’s house. Sounded like a reasonable enough Amendment to me.
Of interest also is Custer County Action Ass’n v. Garvey, 256 F.3d 1024 (10th Cir. 2001) (holding that military overflights are not a violation of the Third Amendment). Custer County cites Engblom in its discussion of the Third Amendment, but ultimately finds that the argument mustered by the plaintiff – that we all own the air above our houses, so requiring us to put up with military overflights is equivalent to requiring us to put up soldiers in our houses – “borders on frivolous.”
The Third Amendment rears its pretty head generally in three types of cases: property rights, limits on the President’s wartime powers, and privacy rights (i.e., if the government can’t even put soldiers in your house without your permission, it certainly can’t [fill in the blank]). In all three types of cases, the arguments are by analogy, and as has been pointed out, the Third Amendment doesn’t otherwise get much play. Unlike its next-door neighbor, the Fourth Amendment…
Pffft. Not even in the top ten.
Engblom held that National Guard were soldiers for purposes of the Third Amendment, but didn’t discuss why that was so. Your question is a good one: is a law enforcement officer (whether state or federal) a “soldier” for purposes of the Third Amendment? I don’t know whether there has been any judicial gloss on the term, and I am a terrible legislative historian. (That’s a long way of saying, dunno, but good question.)
Now see? Over the course of 223 years (plus), you’ve got two, maybe three cases citing it–with one being frivilous.
I’m not saying we should go out and start evicting the peasantry to house our archers, I just want to give a little credit where it’s due. Them founding fathers had a point, and a good one to boot. I just don’t want to let that point get lost to the ages.
I, for one, would rather live in a tent than your dining room.
Actually, 38 cases (state or federal) quote the Third Amendment, including the Second Circuit’s recent Rumsfeld v. Padilla (athough the SCOTUS on appeal studiously ignored the Third Amendment argument). I’m not interested in seeing how many of the 1284 cases that include the phrase “third amendment” also discuss it, because the sun is shining, and somewhere, a lime is crying out to be sacrified to the gin and tonic gods.
You might be more excited if you knew that beyond a roof over your head, I was also obliged to “provide [you] with food and alcohol, and providing for fire, candles, vinegar, salt, bedding, and utensils without paying any thing for the same.”
So does Congress actually have to formally declare war before soldiers can be quartered in private homes? Or could the 41st Armored Infantry suddenly show up on my doorstep, demanding to sleep on my couch because of the current “War on Terror?” Could Homeland Security use the “War on Drugs” as a pretext to force me to live, Odd Couple-like, with the Coast Guard director of Law Enforcement?
From the Framers’ POV, it was actually a very important amendment. During the closure of the port of Boston in the early 1770s, British troops were quartered in all kinds of places. Congregations were evicted from their churches, which were turned into barracks, stables, etc. Just about every nice house in town not owned by a true-blue (red?) Tory was commandeered for officers’ quarters. Similar things happened in NYC, Philadelphia and Savannah while under occupation by His Britannic Majesty’s troops. It got pretty ugly, and those memories were still fresh while the Bill of Rights was being debated.
We should thank our lucky stars that the Third Amendment hasn’t been cited a lot more.