Third Amendment Cited As Evidence That Government’s Power Limited

2004

In Padilla v. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit cites the Third Amendment in support of its opinion that President George W. Bush lacks the authority to keep accused terrorist Jose Padilla in confinement indefinitely. The Court reasons that although the Constitution has a few specific grants of special authority to Congress that allow it to override individual rights – and the Third Amendment’s provision for housing soldiers in private homes during war is one such example – the Constitution makes no such grants of authority to the president. Consequently, the Court rules, the president is not allowed to take action to deprive an individual of his liberty, even in a time of war.