The Third Amendment

The third amendment is the amendment in the original 10 that is the direct result and knee jerk reaction to something the British practiced. It’s a lesser known amendment but important nonetheless.

TEXT

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 manner to be prescribed by law.

HISTORY

During the French and Indian (or 7 years war) as well as prior to and during the war of Independence, the British has a habit of forcing the colonists to house soldiers within their own homes. This would happen despite the Colonists’ wishes and more often than not without compensation. After the War of Independence this was a major selling point when arguing for the Constitution as the governing document for the United States of America.

Court Cases

Engblom v Carey (1983) 

In this case, National Guardsmen were brought in to take the place of striking police officers. In the course of this strike police officers were evicted from their government housing as a result. Two of the police officers filed suit against the government because their housing was then allocated to the National Guardsmen who were taking the place of  the officers. The court decided in favor of the plaintiffs in this case, making it plain that the 3rd Amendment applied to state officers as well as the National Guard who counted as soldiers.

Final Thoughts

This is one of those constitutional amendments that is black and white and doesn’t have a lot of debate behind it. The only issues that we are running into today is the definition of quartering and what people perceive as the increased militarization of American police forces. As society progresses forward this may be an amendment that needs to be protected and fought for more often, but as of now it stands more or less unscathed and whole.

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