Tag: Thomas Walsh

The Least Litigated Amendment

By: Thomas Walsh

The Third Amendment to the Constitution has never been the basis of a Supreme Court decision, and it has only been cited a few times throughout U.S. legal history. It states that “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 prescribed by law.”[1] The American founders wrote this amendment while they tried to create a nation that improved upon the issues they saw in colonial rule. However, it has seldom been applicable in its literal formulation to American society.[2] As such, the Third Amendment is largely overlooked in the legal field but has been cited in a few landmark cases throughout history and may have implications for sociopolitical issues within the United States today.

The Historical Applications of the Free Exercise and the Establishment Clauses

By: Thomas Walsh

The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”[1] Like many documents written near the time of the founding of the United States, its vague nature has led to significant conflicts over the following centuries. Recently, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling overturned the precedent set by Roe v. Wade that determined that the Constitution protects abortion access on a federal level.[2] Additionally, this overturning has sparked discussions within the United States about the possible entanglement of religion and government within the law. These discussions are so because most arguments regarding abortion take one of two stances: the civil rights provided to a pregnant woman must be respected, thus advocating for abortion legality, or the right to life for a developing fetus is cause enough to ban abortion. The latter is the stance of most major American religious institutions, believing that the life of a human being begins with its conception, and liberal religious groups and secular groups tend to support the former stance. These conflicts have provoked reinvigorated discussion regarding the First Amendment’s wording on the protection of religion and civil protection from a state-enforced religion. A history of similar conflicts exists; from foundational rulings determining the rights granted to the unorthodox Mormon religion to the creation of the “Lemon Test,” a litany of precedent has been set in US legal history regarding the applications of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses.