Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Third Amendment

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.

The Third Amendment prohibts the government from abusing citizen property. It prohibits the government from quartering soldiers in citizen homes without consent during peacetime and without proper government regulation during war.

Although the military has had corruption and still does in its system, people often complain about the military on selfish grounds. I have been one of those people. I have been one of those people who have not wanted a close one to enlist because I would miss them if they were to serve long periods away from home. What a selfish perspective to see such a noble service. In the same way, I know that many people would be unhappy if soldiers were to be housed in their homes in times of war even if it was in an appropriate "manner prescribed by law." Again, what a selfish perspective to see such a noble service. The more I learn about the American government and its root, the more I come to appreciate its different branches.

This article talks about the history of the Third Amendment and the only Third Amendment Supreme Court case so far- Engblom v. Carey (1982).

The Third Amendment: Do You Know Your Rights?
Published January 17, 2007 by:
Jon Grilz

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.

If you have been following along with these articles, it is safe to say that you know that this is the Third Amendment to the Constitution, if you haven't been reading along it might not be too familiar. It is because of its lack of familiarity amongst the American public that actually makes this Amendment so interesting.

Originally submitted on September 25th, 1789 it was one of twelve submitted by the First Congress and on December 15th, 1791 it was one of ten that ratified becoming a part of the original Bill of Rights. Despite its importance at the time, the Third Amendment has been one of the least litigated sections of the Constitution and the Supreme Court has never directly reviewed the meaning. Indeed, only one court has ever confronted the meaning of the amendment, in a case decided nearly 200 years after it was ratified: Engblom v. Carey (1982).

Engblom grew out of a "statewide strike of correction officers, when they were evicted from their facility-residences ... and members of the National Guard were housed in their residences without their consent." The district court initially granted summary judgment for the defendants in a suit brought by the officers claiming a deprivation of their rights under the Third Amendment. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, however, reversed on the ground that it could not "say that as a matter of law appellants were not entitled to the protection of the Third Amendment." However, the District Court later held that because the officers' Third Amendment rights had not been clearly established at the time of the strike, the defendants were protected from suit by a "qualified immunity", and this decision was upheld by the Second Circuit.

The following article talks about the Third Amendment Rights Group- National Anti-Quartering Association, founded in 1816 due to repeated Third Amendment violations during the War of 1812.

Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year
October 5, 2007
ISSUE 46•26 ISSUE 43•40

04.28.99 WASHINGTON, DC—The National Anti- Quartering Association, America's foremost Third Amendment rights group, held its annual gala in Washington Monday to honor 191 consecutive years of advocating the protection of private homes and property against the unlawful boarding of military personnel
"This is a proud day for quarters-owners everywhere," said the organization's president, Charles Davison, in his keynote address. "Year after year, we have sent a loud and clear message to the federal government and to anyone else who would attack our unassailable rights: Hands off our cottages, livery stables, and haylofts."

The NAQA was created in 1816 in response to repeated violations of the Third Amendment during the War of 1812. The organization quickly grew in influence and cites its vigilance as the primary reason why the amendment has only been litigated once in a federal court since the Bill of Rights was ratified. The organization is also arguably the country's most powerful political lobby; every politician elected since 1866 has fully supported Third Amendment rights.

"The framers of the Constitution provided the American people with the right to have their homes free of troops unless Congress mandates otherwise during a time of war," Davison said. "Thanks to our tireless efforts, six generations of civilians have never known the cruelty and duress of quartering unruly foot soldiers."

Davison recalled the "dark days" of 1982, when the federal case of Engblom v. Carey threatened to strip Americans of their fundamental Third Amendment freedoms. The ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that the State of New York had indeed violated the Third Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The case, according to Davison, was "a chilling reminder of how even an established 200-year-old right hangs by a slender thread."

"I don't think people fully understand how close we came to completely losing such a basic right," Davison said. "If the Second Circuit had ruled otherwise, we'd be living in a world in which soldiers would be quartering amok upon our very hearthstones."

Davison expressed pride in the NAQA's grassroots involvement at the local level, citing the association's direct-mailing campaigns and its fully staffed regional centers where citizens can report Third Amendment rights abuses. The NAQA also holds quartering-safety seminars for citizens interested in learning how to effectively defend their households against U.S. troops seeking shelter.

Davison reiterated the organization's promise to oppose pro-quartering legislation should any ever be proposed.

"Keep the fat hands of soldiers out of America's larders!" Davison said to rousing applause. He was quoting the NAQA's familiar slogan, which can be found on T-shirts, bumper stickers, and other merchandise sold on the group's website.

Davison ended his address by warning of the dangers of the NAQA resting on its laurels.

"Pro-quartering advocates are waiting for just the right moment to stick a bunch of troops in our homes," Davison said. "Well, I say to them that we will never allow this to happen. You can count on the true patriots of the NAQA to ensure that no chickens and livestock will be appropriated, and private stores of salt, brandy, candles, and vinegar will stay firmly where they belong: in civilian hands."

The NAQA is known for its quick and aggressive mobilization when it believes Third Amendment rights are at risk, and has rushed to the defense of homeowners it believes are being illegally coerced into housing American soldiers. Last month, 200 NAQA members marched on a private residence in Fairfax, VA after receiving a tip that the owners were being victimized by three Navy seamen demanding prolonged quartering. They ended their demonstration, however, when it was discovered that the sailors were brothers on shore leave visiting their parents.

Davison, 49, has headed the NAQA since January, replacing longtime president Lawrence Frost. Frost, 58, left the organization to chair the Citizens Committee for the Right to Drink, a 21st Amendment rights group committed to the continued legal status of alcohol for Americans of drinking age.

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