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 3rd Amendment is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bill of Rights—it gets no respect. But it should. Yes, it is true that we no longer worry much about Redcoats forcing their way into our homes. But perhaps that is because of the 3rd Amendment. The 3rd Amendment, which restricts the quartering of soldiers in private homes, offers very little complexity or ambiguity. When the Bill of Rights was adopted, there were no debates about the 3rd Amendment’s meaning or its importance. And since it was adopted it has not provoked any heated controversies.
However, as seldom as most people think about the 3rd Amendment, it has actually been remarkably successful at achieving what it was intended to achieve. And it has made an appearance in one Supreme Court case in the 20th century as providing one of the bases for the Constitution’s protections for a “right of privacy.”