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Why We Have the Third Amendment—and Why It Rarely Comes Up in Court

June 5, 2020 in History

By Becky Little

The Third Amendment addressed colonists’ grievances with British soldiers, and has since played only a small role in legal cases.

The . In order to sabotage a national steel strike during the Korean War, President Harry Truman had issued an executive order to seize and operate the country’s steel mills.

The court ruled the president didn’t have the authority to seize private property without an act of Congress. In the majority opinion, Justice Robert H. Jackson used the Third Amendment, which prohibited forcible quartering during wartime without congressional approval, to illustrate the court’s decision: “even in war time, his seizure of needed military housing must be authorized by Congress.”

A cartoon from June 3, 1952 when the Supreme Court ruled the president didn’t have the authority to seize private property without an act of Congress.

In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, the court argued that the First, Third, Fourth and Ninth Amendments suggested a right to privacy, and that this gave married couples the right to use contraception.

“The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers ‘in any house’ in time of peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy,” wrote Justice William O. Douglas in the majority opinion.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has never weighed in on who counts as a “soldier” under the Third Amendment, a couple of lower courts have, creating precedents that the Supreme Court could cite in future cases.

In the 1982 case of Engblom v. Carey, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the governor of New York didn’t violate the rights of striking correctional officers at New York’s Mid-Orange Correctional Facility when he evicted them from their prison residences and reassigned those residences and their jobs to National Guard troops.

However, the court did rule that National Guard members are “soldiers” under the Third Amendment, and that “the Third Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment for application to the states.”

In 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada cited this ruling while considering whether police officers violated a plaintiff’s Third Amendment right when they forcibly occupied his house in Mitchell v. City of Henderson, Nevada. That court sided with the police, ruling that they aren’t “soldiers” under the Third Amendment.

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How the Police Shooting of a Black Soldier Triggered the 1943 Harlem Riots

June 5, 2020 in History

By Alexis Clark

When a rumor catapulted into an explosion of frustration and rage, a fabled black neighborhood in Manhattan turned into a battleground.

In 1943, the United States, heavily engaged in the fight against Nazism and fascism in World War II, was also dealing with a serious conflict at home. Black Americans across the country faced segregation, discrimination and economic hardship. Though the struggle for equality was heavily concentrated in the Deep South, black people in the North faced debilitating racial oppression as well.

Harlem, a neighborhood celebrated for its conclave of black artists and scholars, had undergone a dramatic demographic shift in the decades leading up to World War II. According to census data, in 1910, black people represented 10 percent of the Central Harlem population, while white people comprised 90 percent. By 1940, after millions of black people had migrated from the South for a better life up North, the numbers had reversed.

Central Harlem’s black population skyrocketed to 89 percent, while the white population dipped to 10 percent. Yet, despite the white flight, the majority of businesses in Harlem remained white-owned and housing and job prospects for black Americans became continuously bleak.

Altercation at the Braddock Hotel Leads to Shooting

On the evening of August 1, 1943, years of racial oppression erupted into riots in Harlem after a white police officer fired a gun at a black soldier in the lobby of the Braddock Hotel located on West 126 Street.

Overturned and blazing, this car was one of many that were wrecked during the unrest that swept through the northern Manhattan neighborhood.

View the 9 images of this gallery on the original article

On the evening of August 1, 1943, years of racial oppression in Harlem erupted in the lobby of the Braddock Hotel located on West 126 Street. Once a popular destination for black celebrities and musicians in the 1920s, the hotel had declined in stature and developed a reputation for prostitution.

That night, a black woman named Marjorie Polite, checked into the establishment. Unhappy with her room, Polite requested another one, but it too didn’t meet her standards. After she received a refund for her accommodations and checked out, Polite asked for the $1 tip back, which she allegedly had given to the elevator operator. After he refused to return it, Polite began to argue.

James Collins, a white policer officer who patrolled …read more


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As the Allies Closed in on Hitler, They Jockeyed for Future World Dominance

June 5, 2020 in History

By Natasha Frost

One prize in the Allies’ race to take Berlin: the German scientists working to develop the atomic bomb.

In the final months of World War II, as Nazi Germany began to crumble, capturing Berlin had become the ultimate political and military prize. For the Allies—Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union—this was the chance to take the symbolic seat of Hitler’s expansionist, and genocidal, regime.

But there was another objective. Though much of Germany’s advanced research and development around atomic weaponry had by this point been evacuated to points outside the city, many of the nation’s greatest scientific minds remained in or around the capital. Harnessing their expertise might be the key to future world dominance—something both the Americans and the Soviets were keen to seize.

Who would be the victor, and at what cost? As the war wound down in early 1945, British and American forces began to close in on Berlin from the West, while Russia approached from the East. The Allies’ uneasy partnership was growing increasingly strained: This was not just a race for the city, so much as for the upper hand in the coming postwar world order. Two mighty nations were on the cusp of becoming opposing superpowers—whose ability to “drop the big one” drove the stakes for humanity ever higher.

READ MORE: The Secret World War II Mission to Kidnap Hitler’s A-Bomb Scientists

Eisenhower decides to forgo Berlin

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lighting a cigar while staying at the Allied Headquarters in France with U.S. General Eisenhower, March 1945.

A year before, in early 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, had been all in on the idea of capturing the German capital: “Berlin is the main prize,” he wrote to his British counterpart, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. “There is no doubt whatsoever, in my mind, that we should concentrate all our energies and resources on a rapid thrust to Berlin.” But by the end of 1944, rapid Soviet advancement began to throw this objective into question. By early 1945, the Red Army was barely 40 miles out of Berlin. British-American forces, set back by the Battle of the Bulge in Ardennes, had yet to cross the Rhine.

In late March, even as British and American forces got closer, Eisenhower telegrammed Soviet Premiere Joseph Stalin to say Berlin was no longer …read more