(credit: Jane Dickson)
The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is just 32 words: "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."
Amongst very nerdy constitutional law circles, the Third Amendment is practically a joke. It’s never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, and it only turns up rarely in legal cases. The reality is that the federal government isn’t going to be sending American soldiers to individual homes anytime soon. Even The Onion tackled the issue in 2007: "Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year."
But in a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, one California state lawmaker, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, has proposed a novel legal theory that could allow this amendment to fuel a major legal challenge to the American surveillance state: