The Third Amendment

The Third Amendment is one of the US Constitutions least litigated provisions (“Rambo Cop: Is he a soldier under the Third Amendment” 41 N Ky L Rev 119) and some have called it obsolete (26 Val U L Rev 209 212 (1991)). This amendment is over 200 years old. The Third Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by President James Madison. He spoke on June 8, “No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.” But it is true that it was one of most central grievances of the 13 Colonies, in the founding of this great Nation. It addresses the military and the profession of a standing army through unlawful quartering without permission of the property owners.

The Third Amendment reads, “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.” Who is a soldier as stated in Amendment III of the U.S. Constitution – a soldier is a soldier “in time of peace” and in “time of war.” The Random House Unabridged Second Edition defines a soldier as “a person who serves in an army.” The Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary defines, “a soldier is a member of an army…”

One may posit that the quartering must done under color of law, be it state or nation. But Amendment III states “but in a manner to be prescribed by law” which admits a reality of unlawful quartering which is not under color of any law — it is lawless. See “The Third Amendment and the Issue of the Maintenance of Standing Armies: A Legal History”, Fields and Hardy, Amer. J. Legal History Vol 35, No. 4, Oct 1991.

The reality is that this Amendment is never used, but at the least, it does recognize the reality of War, of Soldiers, of Property, and of Owners.

Soldiers need to sleep too. They need a place, close to their heart, where they can get their winks. As they say, “Home Sweet Home”.

Certainly terrorists can be soldiers, but there are many, many soldiers who are not terrorists.

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