Washington DC Mayor Sparks Third Amendment Crisis

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Washington DC Mayor Sparks Third Amendment Crisis

Postby toucana on June 5th, 2020, 4:55 am 


Muriel Bowser, the Democrat mayor of Washington DC, has apparently triggered a rare constitutional crisis by invoking the Third Amendment during the current period of civil unrest in the capital.


The full text of the Third Amendment reads: “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.”

At a press conference on Thursday, June 4, Bowser said: “The very first thing is we want the military -- we want troops from out-of-state out of Washington, DC”, sparking the constitutional debate.

The 47-year-old mayor, also an African-American, has been at loggerheads with the federal authorities led by Trump over controlling Washington’s streets ever since an email from a military planner alerted her office. On Wednesday, June 3, the military official sought guidance for the US Northern Command in determining “route restrictions” for the “movement of tactical vehicles” and “military forces” from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, into the capital city to assist in the “Civil Disobedience Operations”

Bowser’s decision to remove troops has faced criticism from Republicans like Utah Senator Mike Lee, who tweeted on June 4: “Just heard that Mayor Bowser is kicking the Utah National Guard out of all DC hotels tomorrow. More than 1200 troops from 10 states are being evicted. This is unacceptable.”

The Third Amendment is among the least debated and little known chapters of the American Constitution. It is a part of the Bill of Rights that bars involuntary quartering of troops in private homes.

Although the provision has never come under direct scrutiny of the Supreme Court, its core principles were among the most salient ones at the time of the country’s foundation. It was relevant prior to the American Revolution (1775-83) when the British, under the leadership of King George III, backed the idea of standing armies in colonies with soldiers staying in private residences.

This military presence in the civilian space boosted America’s opposition to the British colonizers and saw Thomas Jefferson slamming King George III in the Declaration of Independence. When the Constitution was ratified, the amendment received wide support to put an end to the practice of keeping troops at residential homes at the time of peace.
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