Debate Magazine

My Third Amendment Rights Have Been Violated!

Posted on the 01 September 2011 by Mikeb302000
One of the dumber arguments about the Second Amendment's importance is that it is Second. Using that logic, shouldn't the Third Amendment be pretty significant?

OK, quick, tell me what does the Third Amendment say? It was one of the Complaints that was mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. That should make it significant: shouldn't it???

And back to the "It's third in line" argument. Third place will get you a bronze medal in the Olympics as well as other awards. You can collect if your horse comes in third if you place a "show" bet, but you get paid the "show payoff" even if your horse comes in First.

Well, here it is:
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.

You can find out how important the founders thought this Amendment was by going here.

They even have where this was mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, which also mentioned the issue of "Standing Armies".

So, the Third Amendment is not unrelated the Second Amendment which was intended to prevent a Federal Standing Army. I guess that means "the Third Amendment protects the Second" to rip off another stupid "gun rights" comment.

And Sorry, Gun Cretins or Gun Loons, but I HAVE read the history of the Second Amendment and related PRIMARY SOURCES to come to the conclusion that the Civic right interpretation is the correct one for the Second Amendment. But that's not my point here.

My point is that up until the 1930s, the Second and Third Amendments had the least Supreme Court Jurisprudence. Screw that, they HAVE the least Supreme Court Jurisprudence with 6 cases for the Second Amendment and NONE for the Third. Mostly because it's hard as heck to misinterpret the Third Amendment (unlike the Second).

Although, it provides a great justification for the "Castle Doctrine" using Story:
§ 1893. This provision speaks for itself. Its plain object is to secure the perfect enjoyment of that great right of the common law, that a man's house shall be his own castle, privileged against all civil and military intrusion. The billetting of soldiers in time of peace upon the people has been a common resort of arbitrary princes, and is full of inconvenience and peril. In the petition of right (3 Charles I.), it was declared by parliament to be a great grievance.
Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§ 1893

Actually, it's funny to read the primary sources on the Third Amendment, which really shouldn't be neglected: especially if you are going to argue the Civic Right Interpretation of the Second. This is because there IS a reason this is third, and it is related to the Second Amendment in that they both relate to the issue of standing armies and civilian control over the military, which was far more important that personal firearm ownership to the founders.

For more information on the History of the Third Amendment, try visiting:

* Tom W. Bell, The Third Amendment: Forgotten but Not Gone, 2 William & Mary Bill of Rights J. 117 (1993).
* Willaim S. Fields and David T. Hardy, The Third Amendment and the Issue of the Maintenance of Standing Armies: A Legal History, 35 Am. J. Legal Hist. 393 (1991).

I think you will find an aversion to the maintenance of Standing Armies and civilian control over the military are common threads in Anglo-American history along with the history of other British Colonies. As other former British Colonies show, there was no common law concept of "gun rights" outside of militia duty.

Actually, it has been pointed out to me that the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) gives service members certain special rights to terminate leases without penalty as well as to avoid eviction. Qualifying service members can also have their mortgages modified to cap the interest at 6%. The SSCRA makes no provision for just compensation to be made to the private parties who suffer the costs of its provisions; effectively, the owners of the affected properties have to bear all the costs.

So, join in the efforts of the Third Amendment Center in protecting this most important of rights! Fight the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA)!

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