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Amdt3.1 Overview of Third Amendment, Quartering Soldiers

The Third Amendment limits the federal government’s ability to use private homes as lodging for soldiers. The Supreme Court has never decided a case directly implicating the Third Amendment and has cited it only in a handful of opinions.1 As a result, some legal scholars consider the Amendment to be “an interesting study in constitutional obsolescence.” 2 When ratified, however, the Third Amendment enshrined “protections of great importance,” 3 reflecting the Founders’ pre-Revolutionary experiences with British soldiers and centuries of English history.4

Despite the Amendment’s near-disuse as to its original protections,5 it took on a new dimension in the second half of the twentieth century, with courts and scholars citing it as one of the constitutional “guarantees creat[ing] zones of privacy” 6 and for a “traditional and strong resistance of Americans to any military intrusion into civilian affairs.” 7

See infra Amdt3.3 Government Intrusion and Third Amendment. back
Morton J. Horwitz, Is the Third Amendment Obsolete?, 26 Val. Univ. L. Rev. 209, 212 (1991); accord William S. Fields & David T. Hardy, The Third Amendment and the Issue of the Maintenance of Standing Armies: A Legal History, 35 Am. J. Legal Hist. 393, 393 (1991). back
Fields & Hardy, supra note 2, at 394. back
See infra Amdt3.2 Historical Background on Third Amendment. back
Contra Engblom v. Carey, 677 F.2d 957 (2d Cir. 1982). back
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 484 (1965); see also Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 n.5 (1967). back
Laird v. Tatum, 408 U.S. 1, 15 (1972); see Amdt3.3 Government Intrusion and Third Amendment. back