Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
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The Third Amendment (Amendment III) to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. It was introduced on September 5, 1789, and then three quarters of the states ratified this as well as 9 other amendments on December 15, 1791. It prohibits, in peacetime or wartime, the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent.
No 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.
Text of the amendment echoed the English Bill of Rights 1689 which stated the late King James the Second ... did endeavour to subvert and extirpate ... the laws and liberties of this kingdom ... by raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.
In 1765, the British parliament enacted the first of the Quartering Acts, requiring the American colonies to pay the costs of British soldiers serving in the colonies, and requiring that if the local barracks provided insufficient space, that the colonists provide space for the troops to live in alehouses, inns, and livery stables. After the Boston Tea Party, the Quartering Act of 1774 was enacted; it was one of the Intolerable Acts that pushed the colonies toward revolution. The later Quartering Act authorized British troops to be quartered wherever necessary, including in private homes.
For that reason, the quartering of troops was cited as a grievance in the United States Declaration of Independence: [King George III] has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: ...For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.
At the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention, when debating the ratification of the new United States Constitution, Patrick Henry stated, "One of our first complaints, under the former government, was the quartering of troops among us. This was one of the principal reasons for dissolving the connection with Great Britain. Here we may have troops in time of peace. They may be billeted in any manner — to tyrannize, oppress, and crush us." Henry was objecting to the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees of civil liberties. Later, following the recommendation of the convention, the Third Amendment, along with the others that now form the Bill of Rights, was proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789. The adoption by ratification by three-fourths of the states was completed on December 15, 1791.
Several revisions were proposed before its adoption, which chiefly differed in the way in which peace and war were distinguished (including the possibility of a situation, such as unrest, which was neither peace nor war), and whether the executive or the legislature would have the authority to authorize quartering.
The Third Amendment is among the least cited sections of the U.S. Constitution. There have been no major Supreme Court cases concerning violations of the Third Amendment, mainly because the quartering it forbids has not been attempted since the American Revolution.
Right to privacy
The Third Amendment was once invoked as helping establish an implicit right to privacy in the Constitution. This happened in the majority opinion by Justice William O. Douglas in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 484 (1965) which cited the amendment as implying a belief that an individual's home should be free from agents of the state.
Limitation on executive power
In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579, 644 (1952), Justice Robert H. Jackson's concurring opinion cites the Third Amendment as providing evidence of the Framers' intent to constrain executive power even during wartime: "[t]hat military powers of the Commander in Chief were not to supersede representative government of internal affairs seems obvious from the Constitution and from elementary American history. Time out of mind, and even now in many parts of the world, a military commander can seize private housing to shelter his troops. Not so, however, in the United States, for the Third Amendment says...[E]ven in war time, his seizure of needed military housing must be authorized by Congress."
Directly relevant case law
One of the few times a federal court was asked to invalidate a law or action on Third Amendment grounds was in Engblom v. Carey, 677 F.2d 957 (2d. Cir. 1982). In 1979, prison officials in New York organized a strike; they were evicted from their prison facility residences, which were reassigned to members of the National Guard who had temporarily taken their place as prison guards. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled: (1) that the term owner in the Third Amendment includes tenants (paralleling similar cases regarding the Fourth Amendment, governing search and seizure), (2) National Guard troops count as soldiers for the purposes of the Third Amendment, and (3) that the Third Amendment is incorporated (that is, that it applies to the states) by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In an earlier case, United States v. Valenzuela, 95 F. Supp. 363 (S.D. Cal. 1951), the defendant asked that a federal rent-control law be struck down because it was "the incubator and hatchery of swarms of bureaucrats to be quartered as storm troopers upon the people in violation of Amendment III of the United States Constitution." The court declined his request. Later, in Jones v. United States Secretary of Defense, 346 F. Supp. 97 (D. Minn. 1972), Army reservists cited the Third Amendment as justification for sitting out a parade. Similarly far-fetched arguments in a variety of contexts have also been denied in a number of court cases. Thus, Engblom v. Carey remains the only significant Third Amendment case law.
- "SUPREME COURT HISTORY THE COURT AND DEMOCRACY Bill of Rights (1791)". pbs.org. December 2006.
- In Our Defense, Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy, pp. 107-108, published by Avon Books, 1991.
- Mount, Steve. "Constitutional Topic: The Constitutional Convention". Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Declaration of Independence". The History Channel website. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- Tom W. Bell, The Third Amendment: Forgotten but Not Gone, 2 William & Mary Bill of Rights J. 117 (1993)
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Kilman, Johnny and George Costello (Eds). (2000). The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation.
- CRS Annotated Constitution: Third Amendment