Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Supreme Court Declares 3rd Amendment Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON D.C. (PU) In an unprecedented move, the United States Supreme Court declared a provision of the Constitution unconstitutional today.

On the heels of the controversial Kelo decision, the court further delineated the boundaries of acceptable government intrusion of private property rights. Justice Stevens, writing for the 5 justice majority, wrote: "Given the penumbrae and emanations and shiny paisley-like spinny things this court found shooting out of the Fifth Amendment, allowing us to interpret 'public use' to mean 'public good', it seems clear to the Court that in order to follow our earlier decision in Kelo v. New London [citations] the third Amendment must be struck down."

The case, encaptioned Fleebowitz v. Iowa stemmed from the Iowa Navy National Guard's decision to force citizens of Iowa to provide room and board for its sailors. The INNG offered as a reason for the radical policy: "its an antiterrorism measure, and these guys have no place to live. Two birds with one stone, and all that."

Today's decision affirmed this tactic: "The Court approves of Iowa's sound public policy of simultaneously providing homes for destitute sailors and protecting Iowans from any terrorist attacks that may come by sea.

"Since the INNG's policy is in the interest of the public good, and since the Third Amendment unduly interferes from the government's duty to serve the public good, the Court can no longer view the Amendment as good law."

The Court also attempted to assuage fears of an overreaching government that might result from the decision: "In Kelo this Court affirmed the constitutionality of a taking for the sole purpose of increasing a municipality's tax base. It is in this context that we find nothing in our decision today that should cause alarm. In Kelo, property was taken in toto, that is: the city acquired the entire fee interest in each owners' property. Here, the citizens of Iowa are merely giving up a room and some grub for a finite period of time. It's cool: call it 'Eminent Domain Lite'."

Many legal experts have surmised for some time that the Third Amendment has been on creaky legs for some time, and its days were numbered. In dicta, Stevens detailed that the amendment's vagueness was also a problem: "The Court also notes that even if the Third Amendment were not constitutionally infirm, Fleebowitz's claim would still fail, for the plain language of the amendment states that 'no soldier shall be quartered in any house...' (Emphasis mine). Any idiot can see that those to be quartered in the case at bar are not soldiers, but sailors. And we find unpersuasive [Fleebowitz's] argument that the framers intended to include navymen in the definition of 'soldier', because that definition simply does not suit the Court.'"

In his concurring opinion, Justice Kennedy implied that foreign law may have had some influence on the court's decision.

"There are myriad counties around the world - China, Zimbabwe, Libya and Uruguay, to name but a few - that allow the government to quarter troops in the common citizens' homes," he wrote.

Justice Souter penned a cryptic concurring opinion that has legal experts puzzled. Souter stated in the one-sentence opinion: "I really dig that Boz Scaggs song - what's it called? - 'Liter' or 'Ledo' or something."

Activist Justice Scalia filed a fiery dissent that consisted of four paragraphs of profanities, and concluded with: "I can't believe I breathe the same air as these people! I think I'm having a stroke... AMBULANCE!!!!!!"

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