Foreword: The Third Amendment in the 21st Century

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

For many years, the Third Amendment to the Constitution has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bill of Rights, getting no respect. Actually, even that comparison is probably unfair as, during his prime, pretty much everyone knew who Rodney Dangerfield was, while speakers at this Symposium almost universally shared stories of colleagues, upon hearing of their contribution, either asking what the Third Amendment does, or admitting to looking it up later, on the sly.  Most any halfway educated American – and pretty much every American law professor —  can tell you what the other 9 components of the Bill of Rights are about.     It’s true that the Second Amendment has only recently come into its own as “ordinary constitutional law,” rather than the stuff of letters to the editor and law review arguments, and that the Ninth Amendment has been accused of being an “inkblot,” while the Tenth has only recently recovered some measure of respect after having been consigned for several decades to mere “truism” status.  The Third, however, remains obscure in a way that these other provisions cannot hope to match.

 

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