The Third Amendment

by Mari K. Rockenstein, Esq. 

“The text of the 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.  

Imagine being told you have to share your home with a soldier. Most Americans would not like it. The drafters of the Constitution, like many other colonists, were angry about laws in place before the Revolutionary War that allowed British soldiers to take over private homes for their own use. The amendment was intended to protect citizens’ rights to ownership and use of their property without government intrusion, and bars the government from forcing citizens to house soldiers in their homes unless it is during war, and national security overrides the public’s interest in privacy. The drafters placed these limitations so as to subordinate military authority to civilian control and to safeguard against abuses that might otherwise be perpetrated by standing armies and professional soldiers. Although, today, the federal government is not likely to ask the public to house soldiers, even in times of war, the amendment does have modern implications. It is the only amendment that discusses the relationship between the military and individual citizens. There has been very little litigation regarding the Third Amendment. The United States Supreme Court has never had to decide a case based solely on the Third Amendment but it has cited its protections as a basis for the constitutional right to privacy 

 Mari K. Rockenstein, Esq., is an attorney and also teaches law and ethics and business law at CSUCI.