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"Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year":
From The Onion, via How Appealing.
glangston (mail):
Engblom V. Carey

Do I read that correctly as being incorporated also?
10.5.2007 6:03pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
People tend to evalute the third ammendment too much in terms of it's letter and not it's spirit; they think the purpose was to prevent homeowners from being annoyed by having infantry soldiers hogging the shower, taking the best spot on the couch, etc.

The reason goverment would put soldiers in homes wasn't because it's too cheap to buy barracks; it's because, in the days before a national police force and modern telecommunications, putting a soldier in someone's home is a great way for the government to monitor what that person is up to. Indeed, this is why the British put soldiers in homes during the revolutionary war.

I'd argue the third ammendment is more rightfully seen as a ban on government surrveilance of it's citizens. And in that light it is violated constantly in the form of wiretapping and electronic monitoring. Is their really a difference between a private siting in the living room listening to your calls and an FBI agent doing it remotely.
10.5.2007 6:04pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I'd argue the third ammendment is more rightfully seen as a ban on government surrveilance of it's citizens.
I'd argue the third amendment is more rightfully seen as a ban on being forced to quarter soldiers in one's home. Want to know why? Because it bans being forced to quarter soldiers in one's home. But it doesn't mention surveillance. They weren't writing in metaphor.
10.5.2007 6:36pm
SSD (mail):
Thank you, David N.
10.5.2007 7:03pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Actually, Stormy is citing a pretty well established history; at least, it was presented to me as such more than twenty years ago. Also, since cits were expected to feed 'their' soldiers, we can see the 3A as prohibiting unfunded mandates, too!
10.5.2007 7:06pm
Guest101:
Stormy,

That's an interesting theory, but doesn't the Fourth Amendment address that kind of situation much more explicitly? And in light of that, is it really plausible to suppose that the Third Amendment was intended to address government surveillance?
10.5.2007 7:29pm
Steve:
That's really odd, isn't it, that they failed to mention not-yet-invented technologies for government surveillance. It certainly proves conclusively that they didn't care about any methods of surveillance besides stationing a soldier in your home.
10.5.2007 7:52pm
Arkady:
Well, I'm going over to read the related article linked
there, "Should The U.S. Impose Limits On Incredibly Stupid Shit?" for any light it might shed on any number of issues.
10.5.2007 7:59pm
Dave N (mail):
I love the Onion. Satire at its best.
10.5.2007 9:55pm
wooga:
Is their really a difference between a private siting in the living room listening to your calls and an FBI agent doing it remotely.


The private would behave properly and politely. The FBI agent is probably an arrogant prick who derives perverted pleasure from listening to your calls. I would much rather deal with the private than the FBI.
10.5.2007 9:58pm
Dave N (mail):
While I am at it, I want to announce the formation of the Andrew Jackson League to promote the Seventh Amendment.

Why name this organization after Andrew Jackson? Well apparently he has something to do with the $20 bill.
10.5.2007 10:06pm
eck:
No discussion of the Third Amendment is complete without mention of United States v. Valenzuela, 95 F. Supp. 363 (S.D. Cal. 1951), in which the defendant asserted that
[t]he 1947 House and Rent Act [a rent control measure] as amended and extended is and always was the incubator and hatchery of swarms of bureaucrats to be quartered as storm troopers upon the people in violation of Amendment III of the United States Constitution.
10.5.2007 10:56pm
dwlawson (www):
Actually in discussing this (hilarious) Onion spoof my wife made the point that this could be related to imminent domain.

So what if they can't quarter a redcoat in your guest bedroom if they can bull doze your house to put up a condo building.
10.5.2007 11:33pm
Kazinski:
Quartering soldiers in homes was used as coercive measure to suppress dissent. Louis IVX, quartered squadrons of dragoons on rich Huguenots to eat them out of house and home and encourage them to convert to Catholicism or to emigrate. The 3rd amendment is the only thing keeping George Bush from putting a squad of Navy Seals in George Soro's townhouse.

Can we repeal it?
10.6.2007 12:03am
Visitor Again:
Is their really a difference between a private siting in the living room listening to your calls and an FBI agent doing it remotely.

You are right that the enforced presence of the private is an intrusion on privacy of conduct and privacy in speech. But at least you know the private sitting in your living room is there listening to your calls. You don't usually know the FBI agent is doing it remotely. The difference is that you are able to take precautions in the one situation, but likely will not in the other. It's a huge difference. It's the difference between what you would say with a cop there and what you would say with no cop around or when the cop's presence is surreptitious.
10.6.2007 12:10am
Cornellian (mail):
I think the third amendment is redundant. Granted it says the government can't quarter soldiers in your home, but then they can't do that anyway because drawing and quartering is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth amendment.

Or something like that.
10.6.2007 12:17am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Now, how can I prove that my deadbeat brother-in-law is a state actor?
10.6.2007 12:38am
BruceM (mail) (www):
The idea of active surveillance was nonexistant back at the time of the founders. Aside from reading people's mail, privacy was never an issue, if you wanted to communicate in private, you simply went into your home, out into your field, down amongst the wheat growing in your pasture, or into your barn. The notion that the government could somehow monitor this without placing a government agent there was a non-issue.

Now it is an issue. Had the telephone existed at the time the BOR was written, I have no doubt that a prohibition on the government monitoring telephone calls (at least without a warrant supported by probable cause) would be amongst our most cherished protections from the government. I agree that the spirit of the 3rd Amendment supports the notion that the founders wanted to protect us from having our government intrude on our homes and spy on us. Extending that to modern electronic surveillance is not a big step, nor out of touch with the purpose of the 3rd Amendment.
10.6.2007 1:53am
Can't find a good name:
Apparently there really was a concern about the prospect of soldiers being quartered in private houses. (Maybe not occupied private houses, but still...) The British Parliament had passed laws called the Quartering Acts which authorized troops to be housed on private property in North America if other housing could not be found. See Quartering Act of 1765 and Quartering Act of 1774.

No doubt we would have better scholarship about the Third Amendment if there were more (or any, really) government officials who wanted to violate it.
10.6.2007 4:33am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Extending that to modern electronic surveillance is not a big step, nor out of touch with the purpose of the 3rd Amendment.
But it's out of touch with the language of the 3rd Amendment.

What's particularly odd about this exercise in attempted judicial activism is that the 4th amendment is actually about searches. Why wouldn't you locate your "extension" of a right to be free of searches there than in the 3rd amendment?
10.6.2007 7:26am
Joel:

Actually in discussing this (hilarious) Onion spoof my wife made the point that this could be related to imminent domain.


Eminent. Em. Totally different. Eminent, not imminent. (weakly) please... em...
10.6.2007 8:42am
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
The FBI agent is probably an arrogant prick who derives perverted pleasure from listening to your calls.

The FBI agent's more likely someone bored to tears that they got stuck on the wire when they could be doing more interesting and satisfying work. I know that answer's a lot less fun than blind prejudice, but sometimes reality has to intrude on a fever dream.
10.6.2007 9:13am
hmmm2 (mail):
The FBI agent's more likely someone bored to tears that they got stuck on the wire when they could be doing more interesting and satisfying work.

Like sitting on a public toilet with his pants down waiting for someone to tap his foot.
10.6.2007 9:38am
Philistine (mail):
Given the war on terror are we living in "time of war", which would allow quartering?
10.6.2007 9:40am
Montie:

Had the telephone existed at the time the BOR was written, I have no doubt that a prohibition on the government monitoring telephone calls (at least without a warrant supported by probable cause) would be amongst our most cherished protections from the government.


There is not probable cause exception in the Third Amendment. The only exception is in times of war. Furthermore, the Third Amendment only refers to soldiers. If this was a general statement about monitoring, wouldn't they refer to other government agents as well?

Finally, why would the Founding Father's concern about privacy in telephone calls be any greater than their concern about the mail? Since letters were the mode of communication at the time, they were all acutely aware of the risks of their mail being monitored. Yet, they didn't make any special discussion of mail monitoring in the Bill of Rights.
10.6.2007 9:56am
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Anyone who's seen The Barber of Seville knows that the Third Amendment protects against another danger not posed by electronic eavesdropping: the soldier quartered in your house may be trying to seduce a member of the family.
10.6.2007 10:00am
R. Richard Schweitzer (mail):
ONION needs to provide us (and Congressional Staffers) with the link to the website of the Citizerns Committee for the Right to Drink (21st Amendment still subject to State restrictions)
10.6.2007 12:42pm
SpenceB:
[Philistine: 'Given the war on terror are we living in "time of war", which would allow quartering? ']


Yes.

Simple Federal legislation could easily be enacted now that requires all private citizens to house soldiers at the government's discretion.

The obscure 3rd Amendment 'right' offers no protection at all -- it did not anticipate that the term "war" would become so legally flexible in America.

But, not to worry.... Federal politicians & professional lawyers would never play word-games with the Bill-of-Rights -- all the other of these 10 Amendments provide ironclad protections of fundamental citizen rights (??)
10.6.2007 12:49pm
JBL:
I've sometimes wondered about turning the Third Amendment around and using it as an argument against a peacetime draft. If the Government is not allowed to take someone who is already a soldier and declare they they should live in my house, are they allowed to take someone who is already in my house and declare that they are a soldier? Either way, I could make a case that a soldier is involuntarily quartered in my house.

Also, although I don't know what the practical implications are, I notice that the Third Amendment doesn't specify the nationality of the soldiers in question. Or of the house or the owner.

Also I am curious if the government needs my permission to put George Washington, who was a soldier, on all of the quarters in my house.
10.6.2007 1:17pm
Siona Sthrunch (mail):
JBL -

Your comment is the most brilliant I have ever read on volokh.com. It's probably one of the greatest blog comments ever made to date.
10.6.2007 1:31pm
Warmongering Lunatic:
The Quartering Acts were seen in the colonies as especially egregious given that the Claim of Right (Scotland, 1689) had declared, "That the sending of an army in one hostile manner upon any part of the Kingdom, in a peaceable time, and exacting of locality and any manner of free quarters, is contrary to law[.]"
10.6.2007 5:34pm
K Parker (mail):
The FBI agent's more likely someone bored to tears that they got stuck on the wire
I happen to know one of the agents who was involved in monitoring the guy St Louis who murdered his daughter (an honor killing) while the FBI was on the line listening. Heck yeah, it's boring duty, once you get over the "excitement" of reporting to work every day at a nondescript rented local office. Mission Impossible it's not...
10.6.2007 8:45pm
stombs (mail):
Wouldn't the same logic that extends the 3rd Amendment to cover FBI surveillance require that the 2nd Amendment allow citizens to keep and bear nukes? After all, the "arms" referred to were the most advanced weapons of their time, used in warfare. (But we should pay the words extra if we do that.)
10.6.2007 10:36pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
>What's particularly odd about this exercise in attempted
>judicial activism is that the 4th amendment is actually
>about searches. Why wouldn't you locate your "extension"
>of a right to be free of searches there than in the 3rd
>amendment?

The distinction is between search and siezure (going through someone's possessions and potentially taking some of them) and surrveilance (watching what someone is doing, who he meets with, etc.). The fourth covers the former; the third covers the latter (in my mind anyways).
10.6.2007 11:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Having a soldier quartered in your house is an invasion of privacy. Douglas and Harlan both argued that a government forbidden to quarter a soldier in one's home also should be forbidden to monitor a married woman's birth control practices.
10.7.2007 12:41am
dwlawson (www):

Eminent. Em. Totally different. Eminent, not imminent. (weakly) please... em...


Woopsie. That is what I get for posting with little sleep this weekend. Much time spent at the Gun Rights Policy Conference.
10.7.2007 9:36pm
肿瘤 (mail):
10.7.2007 11:41pm