WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4 News) – Two hundred Utah National Guard troops deployed to keep the peace during protests in our nation’s capital have been forced to relocate from their hotel, not for security reasons but because of a political dispute.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser objects to the military presence and asked President Trump to withdraw troops from her city.
Early Friday morning, the Utah soldiers were told they had to leave their hotel, a move that angered Senator Mike Lee who said in a statement: “Evicting Utah National Guard personnel from their hotels after a late-night shift risking their lives to protect Washington is a shameful, petty, discrediting decision by Mayor Bowser….their labor and sacrifice on behalf of Washingtonians deserves better than this embarrassing spectacle. If Mayor Bowser has a problem with President Trump she should take it up with him, not take it out on National Guard personnel in the middle of a dangerous deployment in her city.”
Major Brent Mangum told ABC4 on the phone from D.C. that the Guard members were taking the relocation in stride.
“Soldiers who have gone through the training that we have, we’re used to living in fields,” Maj. Mangum said. “So moving hotels is not an issue for us.”
Many have claimed on social media that Guard members staying in a privately owned hotels is a violation of the Third Amendment of the Constitution which reads: “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.”
Professor Paul Cassell of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law says the Third Amendment doesn’t apply to this situation.
“It really doesn’t seem to me that the Third Amendment is applicable in this situation,” Professor Cassell said. “Utah National Guard members are quartered in hotels not houses, that are covered by the Third Amendment. In any event, my understanding is that they’re being quartered with the consent of the hotel owners.”
Professor Cassell says the Amendment is a little used and rarely discussed law from the Revolutionary War era.
“I don’t remember anyone actually litigating a Third Amendment claim or saying it was in play at all so maybe this is one for the history books,” he said. “At least people are discussing the Third Amendment learning what it means and how it applies.”
The Utah troops in D.C. were scheduled to work until 2 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday morning before returning to their new hotel.