3rd Amendment

3rd_quarting-_2No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Ratified 1791. James Madison is credited with authorship.

Tom W. Bell in an article titled, The Third Amendment: Forgotten but Not Gone wrote, “Pity the Third Amendment. The other amendments of the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights inspire public adoration and volumes of legal research. Meanwhile, the Third Amendment languishes in comparative oblivion. The scant attention that it does receive usually fails to serve it well. Lawyers twist it to fit absurd claims, the popular press subjects it to ridicule, and academics relegate it to footnotes. Is this any way to treat a member of the Bill of Rights?”

The 3rd has its roots in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. However the amendment would have made its debut in our Bill of Rights regardless of the English Bill of Rights.

3rd_quarting_actThe English Parliament. while maintaining their restriction in England passed the Quartering Acts of 1765 and 1774, which authorized British troops to take shelter in colonial homes by military fiat (order).

As far back as 1683 Colonial legislatures responded to grievances by the Colonist 3rd_quartingprotections against quartering. “The first of these appeared in the New York Assembly’s 1683 Charter of Libertyes and Priviledges: “Noe Freeman shall be compelled to receive any Marriners or Souldiers into his house and there suffer them to Sojourne, against their willes provided Alwayes it be not in time of Actuall Warr within this province.”

States such as Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire through the years of 1776 – 1784 had declared in their state Constitutions that quartering of troops were not allowed.

The 3rd is quite clear “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner.” The second clause “nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law” leaves some opportunity by our national government to enact legislation that would allow them to quarter just as the the English in enacting Quartering Acts of 1765 and 1774 allowed their troops to quarter in the Colonies.

Throughout our history the Supreme Court has not had to litigate cases pertaining to the 3rd Amendment. The Court has around the issue of privacy cited the 3rd.

In 1992 the U.S. Court of Appeals, New York in Engblom v.Carey had the opportunity to invoke the 3rd in its ruling. NY had allowed their National Guard to quarter troops in a penitentiary guard housing. The Guard had been sent there to aid in the put down of a riot by inmates.

The Court however did not decide the case on the 3rd — instead ruled under the due process clause of the 14th amendment the 3rd applies not only for the national government but the 3rd applied to states. The Court as the Law Dictionary wrote “ the court ruled that the two correctional officers were “owners” of their residences for the purposes of the Third Amendment, even though they were renting their dormitory room from the state of New York. Any person who lawfully possesses or controls a particular dwelling, the court said, enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy in that dwelling that precludes the non consensual quartering of soldiers. The court ruled that members of the National Guard are “soldiers” governed by the strictures of the Third Amendment.”

They further stated “No federal court has had the opportunity to reexamine these Third Amendment issues since Engblom.”

It is not to say that in our history that the 3rd amendment has not been violated. In WWII, after Japan attacked the Aleutian Islands off Alaska’s coast, the United States [and Canada responded].

warrantThe evacuation of the Aleuts was handled poorly.the islands.

In a paper written by Christopher Cueva, dated October, 1998 and titled, America’s Territory: The Aleut Evacuation – A Grave Injustice, he explains the injustice. The Aleuts ended up in camps.

In 1980, the Aleuts who were still living received $12,000 from our national government. However, there was no admittance by our government that they had violated the 3rd, 5th or due process clause of the 14th amendment.

Alaska became a U.S. Territory in August 1912. While not granted statehood until 1959 the rights applied to Territories as well.

War calls for, in some cases, harsh measures. War also asks us to abide by our nation’s laws. Congress did not hurriedly enact legislation that would allow the military to evacuate Aleuts and turn over their dwellings, a clear violation of the second clause of the 3rd “nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

The Constitution that guides our nation should not be abandoned. The Constitution is what makes the United States exceptional. The Bill of Rights represent the peoples rights.