Thursday, March 13, 2014

What are we trying to stop with the 3rd amendment?

The third amendment, viewed one way, is the most successful amendment in the bill of rights. It's so clear that there is hardly any jurisprudence surrounding it, it gets violated so infrequently. Or does it? We'd hardly know because we don't have a clear idea what is the problem with quartering troops. Is it that the troops were present within our homes absent any permission from the homeowner? Or is it that quartered troops didn't pay for their forcibly acquired lodgings? Was the ancillary risk of having to be on your guard lest you be seen in your own home violating the law? Was it a combination of all of the above and in that case how many of the elements need be present to trigger a third amendment case?

If the government does not quarter troops but civilian bureaucrats, does that eliminate any third amendment problems? What if the troops are robotic? What if the troops are software agents? What if the troops are somebody else's software agents?

Sometime in the next 30 years, the third amendment is likely to be revitalized by some bureaucratic overreach of one type or another. It would be helpful if we clarified the third amendment before that happens.