Who Says You Must Have A Driver’s License?

Why I write: In these blogs I wish to protect people from falling into the trap of believing bogus legal theories and ending up with really bad consequences.

I have a series of blogs on wider subjects and claims of which this is a very focused specific subset. I will try very briefly to cover some of the wider issues that get raised but I am trying very hard to make this blog easy to read and relatively short. I provide links to more detailed examinations, and to every law and court decision so you can read them for yourself.

Who I am: I am a private individual, a retired businessman. I am not an attorney, just an educated and interested party who doesn’t want to see people  losing their money, property or freedom due to misinformation.

You Don’t Need A License? Really?

No. You really do. It’s the law.

For a long time there have been people insisting that you do not need a driver’s license to “drive.” They base their belief on a variety of ideas and arguments. They generally make one of these basic claims:

  • There’s no law that says you have to have a license,
  • Those laws don’t apply to YOU (or they don’t apply to THEM);
  • “The laws don’t say what you think they do, because words like vehicle, motor vehicle or transport or traffic or driver or person or others are all terms of commerce (or are in “legalese” and have some other meaning than in plain English) and therefore don’t regulate anything private;

This is the first of a series blogs designed to show:

(1) There is such law, and you do require a license to do what we in plain English call “drive” a car or other motor vehicle.

(2) The arguments that they make are easily rebuttable where they are not outright laughable.

(3) There are, contrary to their assertions,

  • NO court cases in the past 100+ years to support this belief  system.

  • Dozens upon dozens of cases at every level (state and federal, trial and appellate courts) directly and clearly dismiss the ideas and arguments they make. 

And for this blog and this writer all legal disputes are ultimately resolved by courts, the branch of government tasked with deciding what laws say and what they mean. There must be some authority for resolving those questions. The judicial branch is that authority.

This blog in its earlier revisions has become unwieldy and long and that’s because there are a lot of other reasons people use to deny the laws and so many and so complex that to put them into one blog is a problem. I’ve moved discussions of these issues beyond bare bones to other blogs.

Things Not Discussed Here (but are Discussed Elsewhere)

Some ideas we won’t spend a lot of time on in the blogs here — I do have detailed explorations debunking each and you will see there are links to those other blogs when appropriate —  but which arise often include:

  • Sovereign Citizens” or their fellow travelers who deny that the Federal or State government or both are actually governments:
    • Claim these are private corporations;
    • Claim that therefore the government has no power unless they contract with government;
    • Claim the laws can only apply to them if they personally consent, either to specific laws or the system in general;
    • Claim the courts likewise have no power without their consent.
  • Some may in conjunction with those claims take the position that only the Federal government can make laws about the operation of vehicles and its authority is restricted to interstate commerce not personal travel. (Right about the last part wrong about the first.)

Right. What Laws Are We Talking About?

In every one of the fifty states and in each US Territory there are laws similar to those of Washington, varying usually only in minor ways as to wording. In the blog that follows we will look at the details of Arizona, California, Florida Texas, Ohio, and Washington. But rest assured all the other states are essentially the same. If you want to find the laws in your state google: “[Name of State] driver license statutes”

The Laws of Washington State
as a typical example:  

RCW 46.20.001  (1) No person may drive a motor vehicle upon a highway in this state without first obtaining a valid driver’s license issued to Washington residents …The only exceptions to this requirement are those expressly allowed by RCW 46.20.025.

RCW 46.20.005  . Except as expressly exempted by this chapter, it is a misdemeanor [crime] for a person to drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state without a valid driver’s license

RCW 46.04.405 “Person” includes every natural person, firm, copartnership, corporation, association, or organization.

RCW 46.04.356 Natural person” means a human being.

[therefore it is a misdemeanor for every human being to drive without a valid license]

RCW 46.04.370 “ Operator or driver ” means every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.

RCW 46.04.320 “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle that is self-propelled

RCW 46.04.670 “Vehicle” includes every device capable of being moved upon a public highway and in, upon, or by which, any persons or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway, including bicycles…

…. Note that there is no reference in these laws or definitions as to the purpose for which a vehicle is used, the commercial or non-commercial use of the vehicle, roadways, nor status of the driver. The law is not limited to those considerations. Person is the  criterion. Any person, every person, must have a license to operate or drive a self propelled vehicle.  And ‘person’ means a human being . And it applies to any motor vehicle, the language is sweeping, ““Motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle.”

From a Washington Supreme Court decision:

“Ms. Port’s argument that this provision requires a license only for those operating commercial vehicles is clearly without merit.Since Ms. Port was in actual physical control of her vehicle when stopped, she came under the provisions of RCW Title 46.
Spokane v Port, 716 P.2d 945.(1986)

We will examine these provisions in more depth and look at what the other states laws look like in a moment.

Having shown you the actual law, which most people have never read, many of you are saying “Oh, yeah that’s pretty clear. Licenses are required.”

Good for you. The opposition to the idea has many objections, some we’ll address; some we will defer to other blogs, but we will answer every one.

But let’s address a couple of issues as preface to the issue:

Federal vs State?  An argument is made that federal law controls based on a number of sometimes wildly strange ideas… The Federal Government’s Constitution was replaced by the Act of 1871 that created a government for the District of Columbia… or by creating the Federal Reserve; or by allegedly declaring bankruptcy in 1933 or some other date;  and the United States is no longer a Republic, it is a corporation… and so are the States.

We won’t do those here they are addressed at the links above and at the bottom.

In fact the Federal government regulates automobiles and all motor vehicles as products made and transported across state lines; and as they are used in interstate commerce per the Constitution’s grant to Congress of authority to control interstate commerce in Article I Section 8.

The Federal government has enacted provisions to promote and support state regulation; for example interstate commercial drivers must be licensed by a state, not the Federal Government which doesn’t issue licenses except in the territories or to its own employees. It could of course, but it decided instead to work with the states and that the issues of licensing were best dealt with by the states and now people don’t have to have two licenses.

It has created for example a nationwide database of licenses so a state knows that a person has only one license from one state; and if that driver has been suspended or has many violations in another state he cannot evade the consequences by going to another state and getting a license there.

But the Federal government has NOT “preempted” state regulation (and has no authority to do so for the most part); and definitions in various Federal laws are limited to those specific laws even though the naysayers try to use them to “prove” that the words in state laws don’t apply to you. Those federal definitions re carefully restricted and limited and usually do apply only to commercial activities since that’s all the Feds can regulate.

The Police Power

Where does the State’s authority for that come from? Since the Roman Republic over 2000 years ago a principle of law has been recognized that the state (any and every state or nation) has the power to make laws designed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people. This power is called “the police power” (not to be confused with police officer powers, better known as law enforcement officers’ authority.)  The constitution grants this power to the states through Amendment X.

The zoning code, the building code, the electrical code, the health code in your city or state are all examples of the police power at work. Stop signs, street signs, crosswalks all exist to help things work better and protect people.

The Federal government does not posses a general police power it only has the specific powers delegated to it (but that includes police power over federal property, territories, and the District of Columbia).

Is the Government A Corporation?

Challenges that the governments are not really governments. I’ll mostly link to other blogs on these subjects, but a brief summary here is necessary.

  • If governments are “corporations” the argument is they have no power over us unless we make an agreement with them. So we only have to have a license, or indeed obey the laws, if we are engaged in commerce, have a business relationship with the state, sign an agreement, etc.
  • No State government (nor the Federal) agrees that it is a corporation; and the courts also disagree. Indeed there has never been any court that ruled this is true. None. Ever. Anywhere.

These arguments profoundly lack logic:

People get put in jail;is that a business function?
Did you sign a contract that includes potential jail time?
Can a corporation give you the death penalty? Is that a matter for contract law? Who would sign that contract??
How does any Corporation get the right to try and punish you for crimes?
Can I get Apple or Microsoft to try me instead of say, Virginia?
I might like their judges better. I would rather go to jail at Microsoft, they have an awesome cafeteria.

“Oh you didn’t agree to be a citizen sir? Well run along then this speeding ticket isn’t for you…no need to have a license either…”

Of course not!

This alone is enough to show the theory has no credible basis.  But in fact we can demonstrate that States are recognized as sovereign states under the Constitution.  State sovereignty is traced right back to the days when the royal colonies declared  independence, and took on the sovereign character formerly exercised by the Crown.

Chief Justice John Jay, just four years after the Constitution was adopted wrote:

“From the Crown of Great Britain, the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it… and thirteen sovereignties were considered as emerged from the principles of the Revolution…. the people nevertheless continued to consider themselves, in a national point of view, as one people …and then the people, in their collective and national capacity, established the present Constitution…

Every State Constitution is a compact made by and between the citizens of a State to govern themselves in a certain manner and the Constitution of the United States is likewise a compact made by the people of the United States to govern themselves…
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 2 Dall. 419 419 (1793)

Furthermore the idea that anyone is exempt from the laws or from the power and jurisdiction of government is nonsense:

“The several States of the Union …except as restrained and limited by [the Constitution], …possess and exercise the authority of independent States, and the principles of public law to which we have referred are applicable to them …One of these principles is that every State possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory.
Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878)

That could not be more clear.

One brief point on sovereignty. Many claim for various reason that there is no legitimate application of this sovereignty to them as they didn’t agree to it or accept it. While I think there is a better argument in opposition to that point than this one, we won’t delve so deeply in this blog.

Sovereignty means the ability, the practical and demonstrable ability of an entity to control a territory and its people, particularly to the exclusion of others and especially in areas traditionally that of the state such as taxes, police power and others. It is not theoretical, If you rule — whether benignly, with popular votes and human rights, or iron-fisted and oppressive — you are sovereign and you control all unless they can effectively change that situation.

The Right to Travel

Claim that the Constitutional right to travel means that you can drive without a license.

Not only does this fly in the face of the laws on driving it also is specifically denounced by numerous court rulings.


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Compendium of Cases

Shortlink to this blog:  http://wp.me/p3nYC8-17X

This blog is a collection of court cases that I quote regularly in response to sovereign citizen ideas and to challenges to the driver license laws.

International (Canada)

Meads v Meads 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII) [Canada] [Sovereigns, Driving]

This case covers virtually every aspect and claim of “Sovereign Citizens” as proffered under the Anglophile legal systems.

“[442]… {quoting. Justice Gauthier in Canada (Minister of National Revenue ‑ M.N.R.) v. Stanchfield, 2009 FC 99 (CanLII) at paras. 17, 27, 340 F.T.R. 150:} …The whole notion of their being a second capacity distinct from the one of a natural person or human being is a pure fiction, one which is not sanctioned by law. One can describe nothing in any terms one wishes; it still remains nothing.”

U. S. Federal Courts

Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386, 398-99 (1798) (opinion dissenting in part): [Sovereigns]

“If, on the other hand, the Legislature of the Union, or the Legislature of any member of the Union, shall pass a law, within the general scope of their constitutional power, the Court cannot pronounce it to be void, merely because it is, in their judgment, contrary to the principles of natural justice.

The ideas of natural justice are regulated by no fixed standard: the ablest and the purest men have differed upon the subject; and all that the Court could properly say, in such an event, would be, that the Legislature (possessed of an equal right of opinion) had passed an act which, in the opinion of the judges, was inconsistent with the abstract principles of natural justice.”

Under this principle of constitutional law, the courts cannot refuse to enforce the federal income tax merely because one or more judges believe that the tax is contrary to their concepts of “natural law” or “natural rights.”

Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 2 Dall. 419 419 (1793) [Sovereigns]

“From the Crown of Great Britain, the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it… and thirteen sovereignties were considered as emerged from the principles of the Revolutionthe people, in their collective and national capacity, established the present Constitution..and the Constitution of the United States is likewise a compact made by the people of the United States to govern themselves Every State Constitution is a compact made by and between the citizens of a State to govern themselves in a certain manner…

Eastern Transportation Co. v. United States, 272 U. S. 675, 272 U. S. 686 [Sovereigns]

The sovereignty of the United States raises a presumption against its suability unless it is clearly shown; nor should a court enlarge its liability to suit conferred beyond what the language [of the statute in question] requires.”

Hallstrom v. City of Garden City, 991 F.2d 1473,1477 (9th Cir.1993) [Driving]

“Because Mrs. Hallstrom … by her actions, demonstrated that she was likely to continue driving without a license, Officer Snapp did not violate her rights under Idaho law or the Constitution by making the arrest .”

Hendrick v. Maryland 235 US 610 (1915) [Driving]

The movement of motor vehicles over the highways is attended by constant and serious dangers to the public, and is also abnormally destructive to the ways themselves… In the absence of national legislation covering the subject a State may rightfully prescribe uniform regulations necessary for public safety and order in respect to the operation upon its highways of all motor vehicles — those moving in interstate commerce as well as others. And to this end it may require the registration of such vehicles and the licensing of their drivers… This is but an exercise of the police power uniformly recognized as belonging to the States and essential to the preservation of the health, safety and comfort of their citizens….There is no solid foundation for the claim that the statute directly interferes with the rights of citizens of the United States to pass through the State,…here the statute at most attempts to regulate the operation of dangerous machines on the highways…

Hess v. Pawloski 274 US 352 (1927) [Sovereigns, Driving]

The use of the public highways by motor vehicles, with its consequent dangers, renders the reasonableness and necessity of regulation apparent. Motor vehicles are dangerous machines; and, even when skillfully and carefully operated, their use is attended by serious dangers to persons and property. In the public interest the State may make and enforce regulations reasonably calculated to promote care on the part of all, residents and non-residents alike, who use its highways.

Juilliard v. Greenman, 110 U.S. 421, 448 (1884) [Sovereigns]

“Congress is authorized to establish a national currency, either in coin or in paper, and to make that currency lawful money for all purposes, as regards the national government or private individuals.”

Kane v New Jersey 42 U.S. 160 (1916) [US Supreme Court] [Driving]

The power of a state to regulate the use of motor vehicles on its highways has been recently considered by this Court and broadly sustained. …As we there said “In the absence of national legislation covering the subject, a state may rightfully prescribe uniform regulations necessary for public safety and order in respect to the operation upon its highways of all motor vehicles — those moving in interstate commerce as well as others.”

Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125 [US Supreme Court] [Driving]

The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment….

If a citizen’s liberty to travel is to be regulated [by Congress], it must be pursuant to the lawmaking functions of Congress, any delegation of the power must be subject to adequate standards, and such delegated authority will be narrowly construed.

The principles involved if applied to licensing drivers do not affect those licensing requirements. A license doesn’t violate due process. Since the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment would be at issue in a state case this precedent may not matter anyway.

Laine v. City of Livermore; Case No. 15-cv-03656-VC (N.D. Cal. Oct. 31, 2016) [District Court] [Driving]

“The constitutional right to travel does not create a constitutional right to drive. The state can require drivers to be licensed. The state can require drivers to be insured. The state can require drivers to register their cars. States don’t depend on the Commerce Clause for their authority to regulate private behavior, so it’s irrelevant whether drivers are traveling for business purposes or across state lines.”

Marbury v Madison, 5th US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176 (1803) [Sovereigns]

“All laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void”

 Indeed the Marbury decision is the famous defining opinion of the Judicial Branch’s role in declaring laws unconstitutional and it does stand for that proposition. However,to say this is an absolute ban on rules or regulations is to misunderstand the grammatical meaning of it; to misconstrue the meaning of the key phrase: “which are repugnant to the Constitution” as it applies only to those rules or regulations which are unConstitutional.

Matthew v. Honish, 233 F. App’x 563, 564 [7th Circuit Court 2007] [Driving]

Without vehicle licenses, Dean is denied only “a single mode of transportation — in a car driven by himself…and this does not impermissibly burden his right to travel.”

Meister v. Moore 96 U.S. 76 (1877)[U.S. Supreme Court] [Sovereigns]

No doubt a statute may take away a common law right, but there is always a presumption that the legislature has no such intention unless it be plainly expressed.”

Miller v. Reed, 176 F.3d 1202, 1205-06 [9th Circuit Court of Appeals 1999] [Driving]

Without a valid driver’s license from his home state of California, Miller cannot legally drive anywhere in the United States…” The Supreme Court has recognized a fundamental right to interstate travel Burdens placed on travel generally, such as gasoline taxes, or minor burdens impacting interstate travel, such as toll roads, do not constitute a violation of that right, however….
“We have previously held that burdens on a single mode of transportation do not implicate the right to interstate travel. … (“A rich man can choose to drive a limousine; a poor man may have to walk. The poor man’s lack of choice in his mode of travel may be unfortunate, but it is not unconstitutional.”) …(“At most, [the] argument reduces to the feeble claim that passengers have a constitutional right to the most convenient form of travel. That notion, as any experienced traveler can attest, finds no support whatsoever in [the Supreme Court’s right of interstate travel jurisprudence] or in the airlines’ own schedules.”)….

“We conclude that by denying Miller a single mode of transportation-in a car driven by himself- the DMV did not unconstitutionally impede Miller’s right to interstate travel... “In Dixon v. Love (1977)…the Supreme Court held that a state could summarily suspend or revoke the license of a motorist …The Court conspicuously did not afford the possession of a driver’s license the weight of a fundamental right.

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491

“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them”

And that is correct. But it does not say, nor does it mean that ALL rule making or legislation is forbidden, rather it applies to only those rules and laws which actually abrogate rights secured by the Constitution.

Pretty basic grammar.

Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878) [US Supreme Court] [Sovereigns]

“The several States of the Union …except as restrained and limited by [the Constitution], …possess and exercise the authority of independent States, and the principles of public law to which we have referred are applicable to them …One of these principles is that every State possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory.

Perry v. United States, 294 U.S. 330 (1935) [Sovereigns]

Sometimes claimed that this case validates or confirms the “bankruptcy” of the U.S. and its consequent “loss of sovereignty” but it does the exact opposite if anything.

SCOTUS held that the government could not change the existing bond Mr Perry held which was denominated in gold, then moved to the question of damages and found he would suffered none after being paid in Federal Reserve Notes.

“In substance that the government cannot by contract restrict the exercise of a sovereign power. But the right to make binding obligations is a competence attaching to sovereignty. 3 In the United States, sovereignty resides in the people who act through the organs established by the Constitution. Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 419, 471; Penhallow v. Doane’s Administrators, 3 Dall. 54, 93; McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 404, 405; Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370 , 6 S.Ct. 1064. The Congress as the instrumentality of sovereignty is endowed with certain powers to be exerted on behalf of the people in the manner and with the effect the Constitution ordains.

The Congress cannot invoke the sovereign power of the people to override their will as thus declared. The powers conferred upon the Congress are harmonious. The Constitution gives to the Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, an unqualified power, a power vital to the government, upon which in an extremity its very life may depend. The binding quality of the promise of the United States is of the essence of the credit which is so pledged.

Having this power to authorize the issue of definite obligations for the payment of money borrowed, the Congress has not been vested with authority to alter or destroy those obligations. The fact that the United States may not be sued without its consent is a matter of procedure which does not affect the legal and binding character of its contracts. While the Congress is under no duty to provide remedies through the courts, the contractual obligation still exists, and, despite infirmities of procedure, remains binding upon the conscience of the sovereign. Lynch v. United States, supra, pages 580, 582, of 292 U.S. 54 S.Ct. 840.

“Plaintiff’s damages could not be assessed without regard to the internal economy of the country at the time the alleged breach occurred. The discontinuance of gold payments and the establishment of legal tender currency on a standard unit of value with which ‘all forms of money’ of the United States were to be ‘maintained at a parity’ had a controlling influence upon the domestic economy. It was adjusted to the new basis. A free domestic market for gold was nonexistent.

‘Plaintiff demands the ‘equivalent’ in currency of the gold coin promised. But ‘equivalent’ cannot mean more than the amount of money which the promised gold coin would be worth to the bondholder for the purposes for which it could legally be used. That equivalence or worth could not properly be ascertained save in the light of the domestic and restricted market which the Congress had lawfully established. In the domestic transactions to which the plaintiff was limited, in the absence of special license, determination of the value of the gold coin would necessarily have regard to its use as legal tender and as a medium of exchange under a single monetary system with an established parity of all currency and coins. And, in view of the control of export and foreign exchange, and the restricted domestic use, the question of value, in relation to transactions legally available to the plaintiff, would require a consideration of the purchasing power of the dollars which the plaintiff could have received. Plaintiff has not shown, or attempted to show, that in relation to buying power he has sustained any loss whatever. On [294 U.S. 330, 358] the contrary, in view of the adjustment of the internal economy to the single measure of value as established by the legislation of the Congress, and the universal availability and use throughout the country of the legal tender currency in meeting all engagements, the payment to the plaintiff of the amount which he demands would appear to constitute, not a recoupment of loss in any proper sense, but an unjustified enrichment.

So Mr Perry was not damaged by not having his gold bond paid in gold coin. Legal tender is the equivalent.

Reitz v. Mealey 314 US 33 (1941) [U.S. Supreme Court][Driving]

The use of the public highways by motor vehicles, with its consequent dangers, renders the reasonableness and necessity of regulation apparent. The universal practice is to register ownership of automobiles and to license their drivers. Any appropriate means adopted by the states to insure competence and care on the part of its licensees and to protect others using the highway is consonant with due process.

Reno v Condon 528 U.S. 141 (2000) [U.S. Supreme Court] [Sovereigns, Driving]

Some claim the MVD in your state is actually a Federal Agency and that the DPPA, Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 is proof that “driving” is commercial because the Federal government cannot regulate unless there is an Interstate Commerce rationale. They say this case, Reno v Condon, is proof of that. Here is what the Court actually said:

The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (DPPA or Act), 18 U. S. C. §§ 2721-2725 (1994 ed. and Supp. IV), regulates the disclosure of personal information contained in the records of state motor vehicle departments (DMVs). We hold that in enacting this statute Congress did not run afoul of the federalism principles… State DMV s require drivers and automobile owners to provide personal information, which may include a person’s name, address, telephone number, vehicle description, Social Security number, medical information, and photograph, as a condition of obtaining a driver’s license or registering an automobile. Congress found that many States, in turn, sell this personal information to individuals and businesses… The United States asserts that … the personal, identifying information that the DPPA regulates is a “thin[g] in interstate commerce,” and that the sale or release of that information in interstate commerce is therefore a proper subject of congressional regulation…

The motor vehicle information which the States have historically sold is used by insurers, manufacturers, direct marketers, and others engaged in interstate commerce to contact drivers with customized solicitations. The information is also used in the stream of interstate commerce by various public and private entities for matters related to interstate motoring.

Because drivers’ information is, in this context, an article of commerce, its sale or release into the interstate stream of business is sufficient to support congressional regulation… the DPPA does not require the States in their sovereign capacity to regulate their own citizens; rather, it regulates the States as the owners of data bases.

So the case cited had nothing to do with commercial use of vehicles, or even licenses. It had to do with selling information in Interstate Commerce.

Riley vs. Laeson, 142 So. 619; or Riley v Lawson See Stephenson v. Binford

Rodrigues v. Ray Donavan (U.S. Department of Labor) 769 F. 2d 1344, 1348 (1985)

“All codes, rules, and regulations are for government authorities only, not human/Creators in accordance with God’s laws. All codes, rules,and regulations are unconstitutional and lacking due process…”

This is a wonderfully supportive quote but once again it is simply made up; those words are not in the opinion; nor does the case conclude anything remotely like that.

That case is also cited as proof that courts are purely administrative, not judicial, but that is a complete misreading of the case, which revolved around a matter that was the subject of an administrative hearing. That case itself is an Equal Protection and Due Process claim under the Constitution filed in federal courts as a lawsuit, not an administrative hearing nor a ‘direct’ appeal from a hearing under statutory authority. See Also Marbury v Madison

Schactman v. Dulles 96 App DC 287, 225 F2d 938 [US Court of Appeals Dist Columbia Circuit 1955] [Sovereigns, Driving]

“The right to travel, to go from place to place as the means of transportation permit, is a natural right subject to the rights of others and to reasonable regulation under law

Stephenson v. Binford, 287 U.S. 251 (1932) U.S. Supreme Court [Driving]
     aka Riley vs. Laeson, 142 So. 619

[T]he only limitations found restricting the right of the state to condition the use of the public highways as a means of vehicular transportation for compensation are (1) that the state must not exact of those it permits to use the highways for hauling for gain that they surrender any of their inherent U.S. Constitutional Rights as a condition precedent to obtaining permission for such use….”
(Quoted to me in a YouTube comment)

Googling the “Riley vs Laeson,” and “Riley v Lawson” as well as “142 So. 619” turned up nothing. It appears to be a mis-citation though if anyone finds it please link me up. It appears that at any rate the Riley case was quoting or referencing Stephenson v Binford; I did find Stephenson v Binford. It does not say anything about “surrender [of]…Constitutional rights” and I doubt that Riley, if we ever find it will support that quote. Until I can find the Riley case however I can only consider Stephenson. Here are points from the syllabus:

1. The highways of a State are public property, the primary and preferred use of which is for private purposes; their use for purposes of gain may generally be prohibited by the legislature or conditioned as it sees fit…..

3. Unregulated use of the public highways by a vast and constantly growing number of private contract carriers operating motor trucks had the effect of greatly decreasing the freight which would be carried by railroads within the state, and, in consequence, of adding to the burden upon the highways. Held: (1) That the removal or reduction of this burden, with its resulting injury to the highways, interference with their primary use, danger and inconvenience, was a legitimate subject for the exercise of the legislative power….

4. The judgment of the legislature as to fitness and efficiency of means adopted by it for a legitimate end must stand if it can be seen that, in any degree or under any reasonably conceivable circumstances, there is an actual relation between the means and the end; the legislative conclusion must be accepted by the courts if not manifestly wrong.

Analysis of Stephenson v Binford:

This is a case about whether the Legislature had the power to regulate businesses who were trucking for their own purposes but not as common carriers, without permits and a law that required them to obtain permits for such use, which was causing wear and congestion. From the start we must be clear that the PERMITS involved are not driver licenses of any sort, they are USE permits, granting the right to use the highways for a particular commercial reason.

“[The highways’] use for purposes of gain may generally be prohibited by the legislature or conditioned as it sees fit.”

Opponents of licensing doubtless wish to read this to mean that the Legislature may not do the same with private use. But the rule is that courts don’t make decisions on questions that are not in the case before the court. Since private licenses (again, we are talking USE licenses here not driving licenses) or private use of the highway is not at issue, the Court is making no decision or ruling on that point.

The comment about the primary use of highways is just that, a comment, a bit of context at the most, and “dicta” (“speaking”) not ruling.

This is not in any sense a case that speaks in any way to driver licensing.

But another message of the case is clear: as long as it seeks a legitimate end, any law the legislature makes that bears any conceivable relationship to obtaining that end must be accepted by the courts “if not manifestly wrong.”

In other words the courts do not second guess the policy decision of the Legislature and the Legislature generally has the power to pass what laws it thinks will achieve a legitimate end.

The case affirms the right of the state to regulate a particular aspect of business or commercial use of the highways; it certainly does not consider the question of driver licensing at all.

Further, the 4th syllabus point, sometimes called the “rational review standard,” applies to most law making by the states; and it in fact supports, for reasons of safety, the requirement to be licensed for all drivers. If the legislature finds safety will be improved to any degree it can require licenses and the courts must accept that if it is in any sense whatever possibly correct. (Yes there are limits but they don’t come into play here.)

United States v. Greenstreet, 912 F. Supp. 224, 229 (N.D.Tex. 1996) [Sovereigns]

Attacking the legitimacy of federal reserve notes is not a novel argument. Others have asserted such claims; however, they have been summarily rejected. See, e.g.,Rothacker v. Rockwall County Central Appraisal District, 703 S.W.2d 235 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1985, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (citing state and federal authority declaring federal reserve notes to be legal tender). This Court will also reject Mr. Greenstreet’s coinage arguments. The Court believes that Defendant’s position is simply irrational.

State Courts

Berberian v. Petit (RI, 1977) RHODE ISLAND [Driving]

…It is equally clear that the right to operate a motor vehicle is not a fundamental right. The importance of that right to the individual in modern society does not determine whether it is to be regarded as fundamental for the purpose of review under the equal protection clause. …For equal protection purposes, only rights explicitly or implicitly guaranteed by the Federal Constitution are fundamental. Id. at 33-34, 93 S. Ct. at 1297, 36 L. Ed. 2d at 43.

The right to operate a motor vehicle is wholly a creation of state law; it certainly is not explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution, and nothing in that document or in our state constitution has even the slightest appearance of an implicit guarantee of that right. The plaintiff’s argument that the right to operate a motor vehicle is fundamental because of its relation to the fundamental right of interstate travel …is utterly frivolous. The plaintiff is not being prevented from traveling interstate by public transportation, by common carrier, or in a motor vehicle driven by someone with a license to drive it. What is at issue here is not his right to travel interstate, but his right to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways, and we have no hesitation in holding that this is not a fundamental right

Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 169 NE 221. Illinois [Driving]

“The use of the highway for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common fundamental right of which the public and individuals cannot rightfully be deprived.”

This is an Illinois Supreme Court decision. Note that the above quote does not say that requiring a driver’s license is unlawful, nor a violation of the right to travel. What it says at the most is that the right to travel can be exercised using highways, which does not imply a right to drive without license. In fact the case is about licensing a bus system to use the public streets.

It isn’t about driver licenses.

“The question for decision is, Has the city the power to prohibit the operation on its streets of motor busses, as common carriers of passengers, by a public utility which has obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity for such operation from the Illinois Commerce Commission?”

But sometimes a decision while not in a case on point nevertheless results in legal principles that do apply. However, if you think the case supports the idea that licenses cannot be required you will very disappointed. This is ALSO Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago:

“Automotive vehicles are lawful means of conveyance and have equal rights upon the streets with horses and carriages. (Christy v. Elliott, 216 Ill. 31; Ward v. Meredith, 220 id. 66; Indiana Springs Co. v. Brown, 165 Ind. 465; Shinkle v. Mc- Cullough, 116 Ky. 960.) Many cases have been decided respecting the validity and construction of statutes and ordinances regulating their use upon public highways, and it has been uniformly held that the State, in the exercise of the police power, may regulate their speed and provide other reasonable rules and restrictions as to their use. (Commonwealth v. Kingsbury, 199 Mass. 542; *206206 Christy v. Elliott, supra; State v. Swagerty, 203 Mo. 517; State v. Mayo, 106 Me. 62) Driven by indifferent, careless or incompetent operators these vehicles may be a menace to the safety of the traveling public, and it has been held that under its authority to regulate the use of the streets a city may enact ordinances which may diminish this danger, and for this purpose may regulate the speed of automobiles and repress their careless management. (City of Chicago v. Kluever, 257 Ill. 317; People v. Schneider, 139 Mich. 673; Commonwealth v. Kingsbury, supra; Brazier v. Philadelphia, 215 Pa. St. 297)

…Even the legislature has no power to deny to a citizen the right to travel upon the highway and transport his property in the ordinary course of his business or pleasure, though this right may be regulated in accordance with the public interest and convenience.

A fair reading of that paragraph would be that one way to repress “careless management” of vehicles would include licensing of drivers to ensure they are not “[d]riven by indifferent, careless or incompetent operators…and repress their careless management.”

Carter v. State, 702 S.W.2d 774, 778 (Tex.App.1986) TEXAS [Driving]

Carter argues that he has a constitutional right to travel on the public highways which the legislature may not take away by the requirement of a license. It is true that the right to travel interstate is a fundamental right under the United States Constitution. However, we agree with the Supreme Court of Colorado that the revocation of a driver’s license for violation of the traffic laws of the state does not unconstitutionally burden such right. See Heninger v. Charnes, 200 Colo. 194, 613 P.2d 884, 887 (1980). We also agree with the holding of the Colorado court that the issuance of a driver’s license does not confer upon the licensee a right that is independently entitled to protection against any and all governmental interference or restriction. Id.

City of Bismarck v. Stuart 546 N.W.2d 366, 367 (N.D.1996) NORTH DAKOTA [Driving]

“Stuart argues that he has a constitutional right to operate an automobile on public roads without a driver’s license. No court has ever held that it is an impermissible infringement upon a citizen’s constitutional Right to Travel for the Legislature to decree that, unless exempted by statute, every person who operates a motor vehicle on public roads must have a valid operator’s license …The Legislature has the constitutional police power to ensure safe drivers and safe roads.

City of Salina v. Wisden (Utah 1987) 737 P2d 981 UTAH [Driving]

“Mr. Wisden’s assertion that the right to travel encompasses ‘the unrestrained use of the highway’ is wrong.  The right to travel granted by the state and federal constitutions does not include the ability to ignore laws governing the use of public roadways.  The motor vehicle code was promulgated to increase the safety and efficiency of our public roads.  It enhances rather than infringes on the right to travel. The ability to drive a motor vehicle on a public roadway is not a fundamental right  it is a privilege that is granted upon the compliance with the statutory licensing procedures and may be revoked…

“Mr. Wisden’s contention [is] that the … court lacked jurisdiction to try him because his status as a “free man” exempts him from the motor vehicle code because he did not consent to be bound by it. We address this issue only because it is frequently raised and should be finally settled. We reject his claim. All of the provisions violated by Mr. Wisden regulate the conduct of persons. Utah Code Ann. § 41-1-1(t) defines “person” as “[e]very natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.” Mr. Wisden is a natural person and is therefore bound by the statutes he violated. Consent to laws is not a prerequisite to their enforceability against individuals. We take issue with Mr. Wisden’s assertion that “this type of legislation attempts to lead one to the conclusion that all are subject to the law, and amounts to nothing more than legal debauchery.”

In order for our scheme of ordered liberties to succeed, we must all obey valid laws, even those with which we do not agree; a man cannot exempt himself from the operation of a law simply by declaring that he does not consent to have it apply to him.

Commonwealth v Levy  194 Pa. Superior Ct. 390 (1961) PENNSYLVANIA [Driving]

A license to operate a motor vehicle on public highways is a privilege and not a property right.

Coyle v. State, 775 S.W.2d 843 (Tex. App. 1989) TEXAS [Driving]

Coyle maintains that driving a motor vehicle is an inalienable and unregulatable “right” which may not be interfered with by the State of Texas. She argues that it is contrary to the federal constitution for the State of Texas to require a private citizen to secure a driver’s license before operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway….Although Coyle has put forth a good deal of time and energy vehemently arguing this point, it is clear that in Texas, a license or permit to drive an automobile on the public highways and streets is a privilege and not property or a property right. This privilege is subject to reasonable regulations under the police power in the interest of the welfare and safety of the general public. …. Coyle argues the State failed to define “driving” and “operating.” She claims harm in the fact that these words were used interchangeably at trial and in the charging instruments. These terms are synonymous; there is no error.

Galan v. State, 301 S.W.2d 141, (1957). TEXAS [Driving]

Appellant next complains of that portion of the court’s charge in which he instructed the jury that they might convict if they found that the appellant did “drive and operate” a motor vehicle on the grounds that the complaint and information charged only that he did “operate” a motor vehicle. We hold such terms to be synonymous, and the court’s charge to be proper.

Gordon v Beddard, 265 Mass 408 (1929) Massachusetts [Driving]

“The statute was passed to make the roads more safe and convenient for travelers by preventing unlicensed persons from operating motor vehicles thereon. The purpose of licensing operators of automobiles is to make it reasonably certain that the licensee is qualified for the task and a proper person to be licensed. Negligent operation of an automobile endangering the safety of other travelers is likely to follow if an unlicensed person is given complete control of its operation.”

House v. Cramer, 1 12 N. W. 3; 134 Iowa 374 (1907) IOWA [Driving]

The right to make use of an automobile as a vehicle of travel along the highways of the state, is no longer an open question. The owners thereof have the same rights in the roads and streets as the drivers of horses or those riding a bicycle or traveling in some vehicle.

House v Cramer is a 1907 Iowa Supreme Court case which says indeed that automobiles can use the roads. The case had to do with whether the driver of a car in 1904 was liable for scaring horses because when he stopped, not realizing horses were tied up nearby, he failed to suppress the spark and thus the sound of his engine. The horses apparently bolted at the sound, causing damage to property and themselves.

The court further said:

Assuming the law to be well settled by our decisions that one operating an automobile has the same rights in the roads and streets as the drivers of horses and is liable for the resulting accident only where he fails to use the degree of care as to speed and management of his machine which the circumstances reasonably require…

The heart of the opinion of the court is that drivers can indeed be held liable (but that the evidence did not show this driver had been negligent).

In Re White 97 Cal.App.3d.141, 158 Cal.Rptr. 562, 566-67 (1979) CALIFORNIA [Sovereigns]

Like all constitutional rights the right of free movement is not absolute and may be reasonably restricted in the public interest.

Luk v Commonwealth, 421 Mass 415 (1995) Massachusetts [Driving]

Continued possession of this privilege is conditioned on obedience to the Legislature’s comprehensive regulatory scheme aimed at regulating the motorways and keeping them safe. The first statute requiring drivers’ licenses was promulgated in 1903. Even then, one could obtain a driver’s license only on “passing such examination as to his qualifications as may be required by the state highway commission,”

Maine v. Pelletier (ME, 2015) Supreme Court of Maine citing among others State v Pelletier  MAINE [Driving]

“…the only issues on appeal are whether the court below had jurisdiction to enforce the laws of the State of Maine against Pelletier and whether the requirement that each driver hold a valid driver’s license violates the United States Constitution

“Because these arguments, although frivolous , are raised with some regularity, we write to provide an *unambiguous declaration that Maine’s courts have jurisdiction to enforce Maine’s laws against those physically present within the state’s geographic bounds* and to reaffirm the constitutionality of Maine’s law requiring each driver to hold a valid driver’s license .
[And in this 3½ page decision the Court showed jurisdiction and Constitutionality. One of the simplest and most easily read cases you could find.]

Roberto v Department of Public Utilities  262 Mass. 583, 587 (Mass. 1928) Massachusetts [Driving]

“The constitutionality of the statute is settled. The Commonwealth has power to prescribe the conditions under which public ways may be used by motor vehicles, and can delegate the administration of such power …The department is given authority to prescribe the time during which the rights granted may be exercised. ….The certificate was a privilege. It was neither a contract nor property, and its revocation deprived the petitioner of no vested rights…”

Routh v. Quinn, 20 Cal 2d 488 CALIFORNIA [Driving]

–“No statutory duty lies to apply for, or to possess a driver license for personal travel and transportation as defendant is not within the class of persons for whose benefit or protection the statute was enacted.”–

No.  That quote is fake.  It is not anywhere in the Routh v. Quinn opinion. The case is about a claim made due to the tax redemption sale of a dehydrating plant. It says nothing relevant to travel or driving.

Self v. Rhay 61 Wn.2d 261 (1963)377 P.2d 885 [Sovereigns]

“The common law is the real law, the supreme Law of the land, the code, rules, regulations, policy and statutes are “not the law”

Well that seems clear enough; this quote also is offered to support the idea that statutes are not laws. The problem is that Self v. Rhay says no such thing. The quote is fraudulent. Those words are not there. Nothing like that is in the decision. 

State v. Davis (Mo.App 1988) 745 SW2d 249 Missouri [Driving]

Davis next contends that he was not operating a motor vehicle, but was merely “travelling in a conveyance” when arrested, and therefore, he did not violate the statute. His reasoning for this premise that the statute in question is for the purpose of regulating commerce and has no application to individuals who are merely “travelling,” is not based on any relevant statute or case precedent, and has no merit…the operation of a motor vehicle upon public highways is a privilege, or at the most a qualified right, it is properly controlled by the exercise of state police power…. In the exercise of such police power, a state may require a person to be licensed as a condition precedent to operating a motor vehicle upon public highways. Williams v. Schaffner, 477 S.W.2d 55, 56 (Mo. Banc 1972)… Since Davis was in actual physical control of the pickup truck, he was operating a motor vehicle.

State v Booher (TN 1997) TENNESSEE [Driving]

    …the appellant asserts that the State of Tennessee has unduly infringed upon his “right to travel” by requiring licensing and registration of his motor vehicles prior to operation on the public roadways of this state… at no time did the State of Tennessee place constraints upon the appellant’s exercise of this right.   His right to travel within this state or to points beyond its boundaries remains unimpeded … Requiring persons to obtain a driver’s license and to register their automobiles with the State provides a means of identifying the owner of the automobile if negligently operated to the damage of other persons…because it is a means of guaranteeing a minimal level of driver competence, licensing improves safety on our highways and, thus, protects and enhances the well being of the residents and visitors of our state. Thus, our state legislature may properly within the scope of its police power enact reasonable regulations requiring licensing and registration.

…the appellant presents additional arguments relating to whether his automobile is a “motor vehicle” … whether he is exempted from such regulations because of his “use” of his automobile;  and whether he is required to obtain a Tennessee driver’s license…The appellant’s 1985 Dodge Daytona is a motor vehicle contemplated by the regulations, said vehicle is driven upon the public roads of this state…These issues are without merit.

State [Minnesota] v. Cuypers, 559 N.W.2d 435, 436-37 (Minn.App.1997) [Driving]

This case is cited in State v Hershberger; (State’s mandatory automobile insurance laws do not violate constitutional right to travel or to due process);

State [KANSAS] v. Hershberger (KS, 2000)  [Driving]

Hershberger argues that the State had no authority to charge him with driving on a suspended license because he was using his car for personal and not commercial purposes.   Hershberger’s argument seems to be that because he has a constitutional right to travel, he can drive on all public streets and highways without complying with any regulation when he uses his vehicle only for personal purposes. Hershberger has cited no statute which exempts him from the requirement of having a driver’s license if he operates a motor vehicle on the public roadways. Instead, he essentially contends these statutes violate his constitutional right to travel.

These laws were not designed to deter interstate or intrastate migration, nor do they penalize someone for exercising the right to travel. States have a compelling interest in ensuring that motor vehicles are operated in a safe fashion on public roads and highways.   Therefore, States may adopt “[a]ny appropriate means ․ to insure competence and care on the part of its licensees and to protect others using the highway” without violating due process.

“It is elementary that the right to operate a motor vehicle upon a public street or highway is not a natural or unrestrained right but a privilege which is subject to reasonable regulations under the police power of the state in the interest of the public’s safety and welfare. “ (Lee v. State, 187 Kan. 566, 358 P.2d 765 [1961].)   The driver’s license is not a contract or a property right … The privilege is granted to those who are qualified, who comply with reasonable police power requirements in the interest of public safety and welfare, and is withheld from those who do not.
Appellate courts across the country have rejected the type of argument Hershberger raises. The reasoning in these cases is two-fold.   First, regulations pertaining to licensing and registration of vehicles do not deter one’s right to travel because operating a car is only one of many ways to travel.   Second, these courts recognize the purpose of such regulations is to advance the public interest in ensuring the competency of drivers operating on the roadway and that drivers have adequate financial security to compensate potential injured parties.   For these reasons, these regulatory schemes have consistently been held constitutional

STATE  [MAINE] v. PELLETIER•587 A.2d 1100, (Me. 1991)  [Driving]

… the right to . . . “use the public streets . . . is not an absolute and unqualified right. It is subject to be limited and controlled by the sovereign authority — the State, whenever necessary to provide for and promote the safety, peace, health, morals, and general welfare of the people. To secure these and kindred benefits is the purpose of organized government, and to that end may the power of the State, called its police power, be used. By exercise of that power, through legislative enactments, individuals may be subjected to restraints . . . if manifestly necessary to . . . secure and advance the safety, comfort and prosperity of its people. And it is a fundamental law that no constitutional guarantee is violated by such an exercise of the police power of the State when manifestly necessary and tending to secure such general and public benefits.

(In those two Maine rulings we see the courts dismiss the idea that the State is not sovereign and affirm it has jurisdiction over any person within its boundaries; then go on to show that the use of the police power is the basis of license laws and does not violate the constitution. The 2015 decision also quotes the US Supreme Court in Hendrick v.Maryland and Neff v Penoyer both cited above.)

State [Montana] v. Skurdal  767 P.2d 304  (MT, 1988) [Driving]

“We reject Skurdal’s claim that because he owes nothing on his car (private property) and is not engaged in commercial travel, his liberty interests are infringed by stopping his vehicle. That claim is baseless in Montana, and we find no law in any other jurisdiction to support it either. We will not entertain it further.  We hold… it is a proper exercise of the State’s Police Power to require a valid driver’s license before one may operate a motor vehicle on the public highways.

Spokane v Port, 716 P.2d 945.(1986) [Washington]  [Driving]

Ms. Port contends RCW 46.20.021 [is] unconstitutional as applied to her because [it] improperly restrict[s] her right to travel upon the public highways.

It is well settled that the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to travel. This fundamental constitutional right applies both to interstate and intrastate travel. Ms. Port attempts to extend this fundamental rule, alleging she has a right, rather than privilege, to operate a motor vehicle upon public highways and streets. …driving an automobile on our state’s public highways is a privilege and not a right because the activity is limited to a certain class of individuals, generally those over the age of 16 years, who have passed a driver’s license examination….This privilege is always subject to such reasonable regulation and control as the proper authorities see fit to impose under the police power in the interest of public safety and welfare.See State v. Scheffel, 82 Wash. 2d 872, 880, 514 P.2d 1052 (1973) (one does not have an absolute constitutional right to a particular mode of travel)See Reitz v. Mealey, 314 U.S. 33, 86 L. Ed. 21, 62 S. Ct. 24 (1941). In Reitz, the United States Supreme Court examined the privilege to travel on our public streets and highways and concluded, in 314 U.S. at 36:

Any appropriate means adopted by the states to insure competence and care on the part of its licensees and to protect others using the highway is consonant with due process.

“….RCW 46.20.021 requires a license to drive or operate a motor vehicle upon our state highways. Licensing is a means by which the State may determine whether vehicle operators have acquired a minimal standard of competence. Mandating driver competence is a public purpose within the police power of the state because it furthers the interests of public safety and welfare. …Ms. Port claims she is constitutionally entitled to this special status because she is not engaged in commercial travel….[she] claims the state licensing statute applies only to commercial operators of motor vehicles. She claims since she was not engaged in the business of transportation, she did not violate the act.”

“RCW 46.20.021, reads: “No person . . . may drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless the person has a valid driver’s license issued under the provisions of this chapter.”

Ms. Port’s argument that this provision requires a license only for those operating commercial vehicles is clearly without merit. RCW 46.04.370 eliminates any alleged ambiguity with respect to the violation here because the section defines an operator or driver as “every person who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle. Since Ms. Port was in actual physical control of her vehicle when stopped, she came under the provisions of RCW Title 46.”
(Review denied by [Washington] Supreme Court July 8, 1986.)

Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 579 Virginia [Driving]

“The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit or permit at will, but a common law right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Often wrongly cited, this is not a U.S. Supreme Court decision, it is a Virginia Supreme Court decision.

A law was challenged which gave the Chief of Police power to suspend or revoke licenses at will.  This court held that licenses could not be arbitrarily granted or withheld — not that they could not be required at all.  Just the opposite in fact.  The part of the opinion that ‘supports’ the theory has been cherry-picked and the part of the decision that actually supports licensing is overlooked or deliberatelyperry concealed. This is why entire decisions must be read…

With regard to the right of the government to require licensing or permits to drive, you can see it is squarely on point and completely supports licensing requirements:

“A city may, in the exercise of its police power, invest its administrative and executive officers with a reasonable discretion in the performance of duties devolved upon them to that end, whenever it is necessary for the safety and welfare of the public.” …

[1, 2] …The power of a city to control and regulate the use of its streets is a continuing power to be exercised as often and whenever the city may think proper. …The issuance and revocation of such permits by a city is merely a means of exercising the police power of the State delegated to the city to regulate the use of the public highways in the interest of the public safety and welfare. The Constitution of Virginia expressly provides that “the exercise of the police power of the State shall never be abridged.” (Constitution Virginia, section 159.)…

[6-8] The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways … includes the right to drive a horse-drawn carriage or wagon thereon, or to operate an automobile thereon…

[9]  The exercise of such a common right the city may, under its police power, regulate in the interest of the public safety and welfare…

[10]  The regulation of the exercise of the right to drive a private automobile on the streets of the city may be accomplished in part by the city by granting, refusing, and revoking, under rules of general application, permits to drive an automobile on its streets...

I can go further. The right to travel, it says is a common law right. While I think the Supreme Court has now accorded it a higher standard, that of a Constitutional right, if it is only a common law right it can be taken away by statute (Meister v. Moore 96 U.S. 76 (1877)) and the right to travel can be regulated (Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125; Schactman v. Dulles 96 App DC 287, 225 F2d 938, at 94)


California Constitution Article IV Section 8 (b) (1)

“The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may enact no statute except by bill.”

In dismissing a suit for the refund of all federal income tax, social security, and Medicare contributions withheld from the plaintiff’s wages between 1993 and 1994, Judge Kimba Wood wrote:

“Plaintiff thus appears to argue that this Court should look to principles of natural law, or more accurately, his preferred principles of natural law, as opposed to the positive law by which it is bound. That, however, is not this province of this Court.”

California Constitution Article IV Section 8 (b) (1)

“The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may enact no statute except by bill.”

=                                  More Blogs by Philipem 1000                                  =

Sovereign Citizens and Fellow Travelers
=                                                          The Law                                                          =
Sources Of Law and Authority
Are Statutes Laws?  What About Regulations ?
Strawman Theory and CAPITAL Letters
=                                                  The US and the States                                                =
 The United States Is A Corporation
(Or If You Prefer, It Can Be An Elephant
The US Became Bankrupt in 1933
& Federal Reserve Notes are Not Legal Currency
The United States is still a British Colony  http://wp.me/p3nYC8-kz
There are Three United States
=                                                 The Courts                                                     =
A Lost 13th Amendment to the Constitution Removes all Legitimacy from Courts; Judges hold Illegal Titles from the King/Queen
All US Courts are Courts of Admiralty and hear only Admiralty Cases
US Courts are, well, not Admiralty after all, but instead Equity Courts
US Courts are Administrative, Not Judicial
All Lawyers take a Secret Oath to Hide ‘The TRUTH
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Philipem 1000 – Guide to Blogs

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p3nYC8-106

October 2017 – This will be sort of a table of contents or index to assist you in finding what blog contains what information.

These are not precise guides to the organization of each Blog, but key phrases to give you an idea of what is discussed in each blog.

Sovereign Citizens and Fellow Travelers

Introduction to the Sovereign Citizen Concept
(There is no such thing in our Legal Tradition)
What is Sovereignty?
We The People or I The Person?
What’s Wrong With Individual Sovereignty?
What Do Courts Say?


=                                                          The Law                                                          =

Claimed: “Common Law” is the Supreme Law of the Land
Claimed: “Rules, Regulations, Statutes are Not Legal or
Only Govern the Government not The People

What is the law?

The Rule of Law — More Than Just A Rule

Sources of Law:

The Constitution
The State Constitutions
Statutory Law (Statutes, Ordinances, Codes)
Case Law (AKA Common Law)

Not a Source of Law:
Natural Law
Rules and Regulations

Are Statutes Laws?  What About Regulations ?

So What Are Laws?
Statutes — are they laws?
About Codes
About Regulations
The Strawman Theory
Latin Had ONLY Capitals!
The Courts Do Not Agree
A collection of court cases
  quoted regularly in response to sovereign citizen
ideas and challenges to the driver license laws..

=                             The US and the States                            =

The United States Is A Corporation
(Or If You Prefer, It Can Be An Elephant
Claimed: The United States is a Corporation, Not a Sovereign Nation
Claimed: There is no nation, it never was, the Constitution
created a corporation from the beginning.
Claimed: In 1871 The Congress created a commercial charter/Constitution
for the US, and made us into a corporation headquartered in the
District of Columbia, not a nation & therefore…
The Constitution used now is not the same one adopted in 1791.
Did Anyone Actually Read that law?
Where’s the New Constitution?
Constitution FOR vs Constitution OF
Where is the corporation called THE UNITED STATES?

The Adjournment of 1861
Claimed:The Congress of 1861 adjourned and was dissolved
and all acts of Congress thereafter are invalid
(But “the President …may, on extraordinary occasions,
convene both Houses, or either of them)

Claimed: 28 USC 3002 proves the US is a corporation
(Talk About Word Salad and Mr Magoo Legal Research!)


Federal Zone Theory
Claimed: The US government only has authority over
Federal Lands and Possessions
(Except for Article IV Sec 3 …)


(1) US is bankrupt;
(2) So the states lost sovereign power
(3) The U.S. lost its sovereignty
(4) US Became a corporation (or already was)
(5) Your relationship with corporations contractual only.
(6) Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) controls it all.


The “Traficant Speech”
Former Congressman and Federal Convict James Trafficant speaks
(With Interspersed Rebuttals)
What IS the UCC?
What It’s NOT
UCC started 1952 not 1933
Not a Federal law.
Not a Law unless adopted in your state
Some States did not adopt it
Some made changes
Applies only to businesses and commercial activity

(1) We lost the Revolution
(2) We gave up what we won
(3) War of 1812 was British attempt
to stop the “13th Amendment
(4) Because the South lost the Civil War
we don’t own anything, and all
our taxes go to the King.

There are Three United States

Claimed: There are Actually Three United States
Learn to Read…

=                                           The Courts                                               =

Does The “Real” 13th Amendment Eliminate the Courts?

The claim: There is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution t
hat disqualifies every lawyer in the country

from being a citizen, and thereby from serving as a judge.
It was never ratified

But if the Amendment Has been Ratified … So What?

Esquire is Neither a Title of Honor Nor of Nobility.
It does not come from a foreign power.
Not Enough States Ratified

Publication is not ratification.

The Courts have already considered and rejected these arguments.

What about the BAR??

What is Admiralty Law?

The Admiralty Courts Exist Because
the U.S. is Under Martial Law
U.S. Is NOT Under Martial Law and the Courts are Not Suspended,
Nor Acting in any Admiralty or Military Capacity.
Martial Law Does Not Suspend the Courts
Does The Jones Act Put Us Under Maritime/Admiralty Law
By Our Birth Certificate?
Why Is Your Name Spelled In CAPITALS?
The Currency Proposition:
Claimed: The US No Longer circulates Gold and Silver
Based Currency and/or Coin, Therefore We Are Governed by The Law Of The Sea

The Flag Fringe Proposition:
Claimed: The Gold Fringe on the Flag Shows
That The Court is An Admiralty/Military Court


Do You Need a License to Drive ?
What Law says you have to have a license?
Driver License Laws.
Are You A Person?
What Does it Mean “To Drive”
Is Your Car A Motor Vehicle?
What is a Highway?
“But I saw a video where the cops let this guy go…”
The Arguments Against Licenses
Laws and Statutes
The Right To Travel
It’s a Car Not a Motor Vehicle
Licenses are only required for Commerce
Federal Law Preempted State Law
You Must Consent to Licensing / The State is a Corporation
Court Cases Cited Against Licensing
Court Cases That Support Licensing
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Clinton, Trump, Nukes, and Classified Emails


I write this in the heat of the Presidential Campaign, where Trump and his supporters are attacking Secretary Clinton about her emails, about classified information handling, and Trump is being attacked as too dangerous to possess the nuclear codes.

For background information I served in the USAF a number of years and had access to missile silos and command posts but was not in the chain of command for launching them. I knew of some of the training crews received.

I also spent substantial time dealing with Top Secret / Special Intelligence and Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence (SCI) including work under the NSA; worked in Air Force Special Security Offices; and received very extensive training in the handling of classified material. Much has doubtless changed but the basics seem to be pretty much the same.

Can President Trump Launch Nukes All By Himself?

As Trump has been attacked for his lack of composure and judgement and looking like a loose cannon, one defense has been offered that if he tried to launch nukes others in the chain of command would act to stop him from doing so rashly. Unfortunately there is not even a little truth to that.

Can Any President Launch nukes all by himself?

That’s a little complicated.

Legally the answer is yes.

The President has the legal authority; the 1986  Goldwater-Nichols Act, made the chain of command for conducting military operations go from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands and thus bypasses the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely.

Practically, the answer is no, not quite. He needs a little help.

Only the President can direct the use of nuclear weapons. While the President does have unilateral authority as commander-in-chief to order that nuclear weapons be used for any reason at any time, the actual procedures and technical systems in place for authorizing the execution of a launch order require confirmation by the Secretary of Defense If the Secretary of Defense does not concur, then the President may in his sole discretion fire the Secretary. The Secretary of Defense has legal authority to approve the order, but cannot veto it.

All of the systems used in authorization are kept away from hands of any one person, the concept of “No Lone Zone” or “the two man rule” means that no one can be unaccompanied in an area that contains these systems for example or launch without the assistance and concurrence of a second person. So in a silo both the commander and his deputy commander must turn their launch keys more or less simultaneously for example.

As respects the President he has a military aide who is nearby at all times and has physical custody of the launch codes and the systems needed to communicate them. But for the President to use them the Secretary of Defense must be the second person authorizing.

If an unbalanced or rash or rogue President orders the Nukes Launched, can people in the chain of command — or anyone — stop those orders?


If the Secretary of Defense refuses the President can fire him on the spot and get an Assistant Secretary to do the job. As long as the President has hired the right yes men they will agree. He can keep firing people as did Richard Nixon in the Justice Department until he finds a Robert Bork who will act even if he disagrees with the launch.

Once the President has entered the order and it is confirmed what happens after that is automatic. The orders are sent through multiple redundant communication systems to every silo, ship, and aircraft that is involved. No single person is in the chain at a point where they could intercept or stop those orders.

The recipients may hesitate. But be not deceived, most of them are well trained to take and follow those orders. Every month or perhaps more often there are drills in which they simulate launching. Personnel are observed and graded and tested in this; and never at any point are they led to think or permitted to advocate for the idea that they have any legitimate role in blocking, stopping, or delaying that launch as long as the orders are authentic. Anyone who does might be retrained, reprimanded, or removed from their positions. They take pride in following the toughest orders any human could get. If the President orders a strike they will execute to the best of their ability.

They don’t need to, or expect to, know why the order was issued, they will do it anyway. They are trained to execute and not to question. You may indeed find someone who does delay or question or refuse, but the vast number will comply, at the most checking to be sure the order is authentic.

Secretary Clinton’s Classified Emails

The topic of her emails is so wide ranging; I’ve not been interested enough to read most of it since I think it’s mostly a tempest in a teapot; what they show is normal if not admirable political behavior, not corruption, and if we looked at the RNC emails we’d see the same things IMHO.  President Bush destroyed 22 million emails from a private server owned by the RNC and illegally used that server to conduct official business as President.

I will focus only on the security aspects because my knowledge can add to that discussion. But there’s a lot to that and it requires attention to details.

Early on Secretary Clinton claimed that she never used her private server system for sending or receiving classified material. While the FBI has shown that is not completely correct, it is my opinion that she honestly believed it. The FBI says she was extremely careless in handling the material and that it appears she did not recognize “obvious” markings of classified material –and that she did not lie to the FBI about this.

Surely many will take issue with aspects of those claims; I will simply apply my knowledge to my understanding of the events and show why I believe she could be honest and did not deserve more than a reprimand.

I have not studied all there is to know here; but at the end of the investigation it was stated that a relatively few classified documents among tens of thousands of emails  were in fact received and/ or forwarded through her email. I have excluded here any emails that contained information which was classified AFTER the fact, after it was sent.

Who it was sent to could matter. If it is sent to someone without a clearance that’s a bigger issue than sending it to a person with clearance but no authorization. And sending it to a person with clearance and authorization is an issue only because the system was not a secure one.

I have not heard the FBI spoke of any unauthorized or uncleared recipients. So she may have sent classified material to people allowed to see it but not through a secure system; the security breach is that it was sent via a non-secure system.

Secure/Non Secure System

When I say non-secure system I am using government speak. It does not mean that the system lacked security measures or would or necessarily could have been penetrated. It simply means that the equipment, software, hardware, and techniques were not approved by NSA for the storage or transmission of classified information.

Secure systems typically use encryption that is devised and approved by the NSA generally. They have technical features that make it difficult to intercept stray signals before they are encrypted.

Given that her premises were protected  by the Secret Service it is unlikely that they were physically insecure, subject to physical invasion or theft.

I was intimately familiar with the systems and procedures a few decades back. The principles have not changed much even though the hardware and software have.

For someone to be guilty of compromising information (what we called a “security violation” in my day) they must know that material is classified. They don’t necessarily need to intend to disclose it but it has to be that they knew it was a classified.

Ms Clinton has claimed that she did not receive much or any training on the handling of classified information. That is at odds with my experience but (a) I was in the Air Force, Department of Defense not State; and (b) I had almost a year of training before I actually worked in my career field, during which I received much classified handling training and then was later given follow up and additional training pertinent to the types of duty and the information I had access to.

I doubt that the government affords the Secretary of State weeks months or even days for training on the job. Most people who get to that office probably have had some background in handling and seeing such material. But formal training being zero is not hard for me to imagine. It’s a mistake but it is quite likely in my view. I suspect the same is true of her work as First Lady which would have involved some access; and as a Senator —  there, perhaps, I would expect some real training but the Congressional agencies that handle such things have not said a word.

Classification Levels and Markings

Usually one recognizes classified information because it is clearly marked as such. So the actual marking of documents becomes pretty significant in this story. I have provided as examples some actual declassified documents to help illustrate my points.

Most documents are mixtures of classified and unclassified material. Classified material itself is designated as Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret in ascending order of importance.

The classification of a document is the highest level of any information in it. The classification of a page, likewise.

In addition to classifications the distribution of and access to material is often restrictd by special designations, commonly “Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI)” is identified with a specific codeword for that “compartment” and a special background investigation is needed for people to have access.

For example (and I make this up, it may or may not be a codeword; often the codeword itself is classified), I might have intelligence from a specific agent, and that information may be given the codeword “Atlas”. People in the know understand whether or not to depend on “Atlas” to provide reliable information.  Only persons authorized to see SCI designation “Atlas” can see it regardless of their clearance level. To see it you must be ‘read into’ the Atlas program (given an orientation about the codeword and special procedures) and can only talk or share Atlas information with other Atlas cleared personnel. You may see the info but not be told who Atlas is. You only get to see items for which you’re both cleared, and by duty, have a need to know.

Marking of classified material is significant to this issue.

Every document is supposed to be marked with the highest classification prominently on its cover. Each page must be marked with its highest classification at the top, bottom or both. A page with mixed information may have a designation on every paragraph showing that paragraph‘s classification so (C) or (S) or (TS) [actually I’m not sure it’s T or TS] shows the classification level; or (U) for unclassified information.

Many documents would not use and some would not need the paragraph markers.

While I know in theory about the paragraphs I don’t recall the practice in my day. It is actually not uncommon for documents not to have them.

Let’s Look At Examples

I offer two examples.

The first is a multi-page document about encryption equipment and planning its deployment for the US Navy; click the link to see the document.   TSEC/KG-13 Pontus

The document was overall SECRET – CRYPTO  (Crypto means something do with codes and requires a separate special authorization to access) as is marked on its front cover.

Page B-2 is marked top and bottom as Unclassified, the next two pages are marked Confidential and the last three are Secret. The document as a whole is Secret; parts of it are correctly and explicitly marked. No paragraph markings are given and it is possible that some of the items on a particular page are classified and others are not. The classifying authority didn’t show us that.

The second document is now declassified and was also Secret; I only provide one page:


Note that the markings on this document are the word SECRET stamped top and bottom. This is how most classified documents are marked. This is doubtless what Ms. Clinton would have looked for to see if something was classified.

Also note that every paragraph on this page is marked (U) for unclassified. So the marking on the page is actually wrong. This page is not and never was Secret classified info. It is and was Unclassified.

Secretary Clinton

In a relatively few emails FBI found paragraphs with (C) or higher markings. Some were not classified at the time, but have been classified since.

I have the impression the emails are longer documents with a  few classified paragraphs presenting the risk.

I can’t be absolutely sure because of course being classified they are not published; I haven’t (and most of the critics haven’t) seen them.

What is clear is that she only had paragraph markings available to guide her (because the FBI specifically referred to them, not to page markings which would as you can see are much more obvious) and she says she was unaware of their significance.

Did she type those paragraphs, markings and all, into an email? Unlikely; if she added the info to an email she probably cut and pasted from something else, perhaps a document or an email or a memo sent to her. The document or  page classification probably was not visible or present in the source at all. We don’t know. They may have been part of a longer email chain she got and added to.

Indeed she may have not have noticed markings at all and if she did she could easily have not understood them. If she had little or no training, that is quite possible; if the emails were long it is possible there too that she didn’t notice them.

If she cut and pasted from unclassified sections and didn’t realize she was also taking classified sections it is easily possible. If it was sent to her it is probable.

I myself would have looked for page markings and might not have noticed the paragraph markers.

She said she did not know, and I have no reason to think she is being dishonest, that these were classified documents. Without the header or footer it’s easy to overlook. Without training it is easy to not know.

Mishandling Error or Crime?

Finally, much has been made of the observation that the law does not require specific intent to mishandle classified information. If you accidental compromise information you could theoretically be prosecuted.

But it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

Security violations, sadly, are commonplace.

Failing to lock your stuff up, cover it when you have visitors, take proper inventory, change combinations when someone transfers out of an office, take it someplace it isn’t supposed to be, saying the wrong thing or saying it in the wrong place; happen every day in the Air Force and probably every security location.

If you do that you can get a range of consequences. Typically you will get yelled at, a verbal reprimand.

Your boss can do more but your security violation reflects badly on him and is his responsibility and he can get in trouble too, so he is not inclined to make a bigger deal than necessary.

If it is a serious compromise where substantial info gets into unauthorized hands (and remember for Sec. Clinton we are not told it went to uncleared personnel, only that it was sent via an insecure system) and your screw-up was big you might get a letter of reprimand, or even non-judicial punishment (you agree to a fine, rank reduction, etc. without trial). Those can be career ending. The exact details will vary and is a commander’s decision normally. If you screwed up big and he has to report it, call in investigators, your career will be ruined. But that’s pretty much it.

In the normal course of events no one gets a court martial who has not intentionally compromised classified material and knowingly disclosed it to an uncleared person. I never saw that happen even once. I saw lots of security violations but I newer saw a court martial for it.

Secretary Clinton got her admonishment, her reprimand. That’s what usually happens.

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Strawman Theory and CAPITAL LETTER Theory

Shortlink to this page: http://wp.me/p3nYC8-TB


I am a retired businessman not a lawyer. I have studied the law both formally (graduate level classes on law and international affairs) and independently. This page is part of a series of blogs in which I examine aspects of sovereign citizen theory, which starts at Sovereign Citizens and Fellow Travelers

These are not trifling matters. Adherence to these theories can and does result in fines, imprisonment, seizure of assets. You definitely should not be taking advice from YouTube videos. I have tried to make these blogs as clear and accurate as possible and I include whenever possible links to actual law and court decisions so you can see whether what I say is accurate.

The Strawman Theory & Capitalization of Names Theory

In considering a variety of claims made by sovereign citizens and their fellow freemen on the land and cohorts, several theories need addressing.

The Strawman theory claims that there is a real you, the living person; and because you have a birth certificate or social security card you are a stock market commodity pledged to the benefit of the nation; and/or you have a trust account in a fictitious entity, sometimes called the Person [YOUR NAME IN CAPITALS ] — CAPITALIZATION theory — that is created by those documents. I know that’s hard to follow, and I have had a hard time finding an “official version” of this theory.

Recently I came across an account in a Federal Claims Court decision that seems to be clear enough. This is a description of the “Strawman theory” and “Capitalization theory”; the former is often but not always offered in conjunction with the latter theory.

“The goal of some sovereign citizens is the recovery of money from the United States that they actually–in the form of taxes–or purportedly paid to the government…. As the Honorable Norman K. Moon explained, such claims are premised upon the following beliefs:

“Supposedly, prior to the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, there were no U.S. citizens; instead, people were citizens only of their individual states. Even after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. citizenship remains optional. The federal government, however, has tricked the populace into becoming U.S. citizens by entering into “contracts” embodied in such documents as birth certificates and social security cards. With these contracts, an individual unwittingly creates a fictitious entity (i.e., the U.S. citizen) that represents, but is separate from, the real person. 

“Through these contracts, individuals also unknowingly pledge themselves and their property, through their newly created fictitious entities, as security for the national debt in exchange for the benefits of citizenship. However, the government cannot hold the profits it makes from this use of its citizens and their property in the general fund of the United States because doing so would constitute fraud, given that the profits technically belong to the actual owners of the property being pledged (i.e., the real people represented by the fictitious entities). Therefore, the government holds the profits in secret, individual trust accounts, one for each citizen.

“Because the populace is unaware that their birth certificates and such are actually contracts with the government, these contracts are fraudulent. As a result, the officers of government are liable for treason unless they provide a remedy that allows an individual to recover what she is owed–namely, the profits held in her trust account, which the government has made from its use of her and her property in the commercial markets.

“In 1933, the government provided just such a remedy with House Joint Resolution 192, and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) provides the means for a person to implement it. The fact that virtually no one is aware of this remedy or how to use it is all part of the government’s scheme–if no one takes advantage of the remedy, the government can keep the money, so it is in the government’s interest that the remedy be obscure.  (Bryant v. Wash. Mut. Bank, 524 F. Supp. 2d 753 (W.D. Va. 2007) (describing an attempt to satisfy a mortgage). at 758-59 (footnotes omitted); see also id. at 758 n.8 (“Further thickening the plot, the name of the fictitious entity is the real person’s name in all-capital letters, which apparently explains why names are commonly written in all-capital letters on birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and other government documents.”)).

“To collect the money held by the United States in the “secret, individual trust accounts,” sovereign citizens employ the process known as “redemption.” In this process, sovereign citizens file one or more UCC financing statements naming themselves as both the secured party and the debtor, with the intent “to register a security interest in the fictitious entity that was created by [their] birth certificate and other government documents….”

“Typically, the secured party’s name is written using only initial capital letters and the debtor’s name is written in all capital letters.”

 Brandon Shane Gravatt v The United States (pdf) (Capitalized in the documents!)
US Court of Claims, No. 11-592C Order of Dismissal, Filed September 27, 2011.
(Gravatt eventually pleaded guilty, to possession of 50 grams or more of “crack” cocaine and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.)

I should emphasize the above is not a Court agreeing with this theory or promoting it, but summarizing what the theory that person being tried has claimed says; and in fact the court in its Order of Dismissal dismissed these arguments utterly….

Part of the theory here is that — some say harking back to Roman Law — capital letters make a difference when you specify a name.

How ridiculous is the Capitalization theory? Roman Latin had no small letters at all. Everything was capitalized all the time. So how would the use of Capitals make a difference when nothing but Capitals exist?  MARCVS FLAVIVS would agree I am sure.


At any rate, when you are born, or so they say, the government creates an “account” in your CAPITALIZED name  which is, I guess, CAPITALIZED with millions of dollars in it and you only need some magic words to access this money for your own use. This is not you, it’s your corporate share of America or something….

Someone made this up out of nothing. There is no such account and no money in it.

But many get in serious legal and financial hot water following it (or reach out to it because they are already in financial trouble and end up in worse trouble) … people create official looking documents to ‘access’ this account then give them to someone, say “buys” a car in exchange, and then the seller is stuck with nothing because those papers are not money and can’t be deposited or recognized and will not be paid and can’t be spent… and the sovereign who did it may well end up in jail, at least in court, for forgery or fraud.

Others just say that’s not me, I am not the corporate fiction or juridical person and am instead the natural person or the freeman…thus nothing in law applies to them, especially if it is capitalized. Like the indictment or arrest warrant. Guess what?

The police do not agree.

The Courts Do Not Agree Either

Generally the courts have held that these arguments “lack merit; are wholly baseless; lack an arguable basis in either law or in fact; are completely without merit; and specious”

… the defendant contends that the Indictment must be dismissed because “KURT WASHINGTON,” spelled out in capital letters, is a fictitious name used by the Government to tax him improperly as a business, and that the correct spelling and presentation of his name is “Kurt Washington.” This contention is baseless.
United States v. Washington, 947 F. Supp. 87, 92 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)

“The core of defendant’s argument on appeal is that (1) he was born Donald James Drew, and the person charged in this matter was DONALD JAMES DREW; (2) the capitalization of the name created a “Strawman/Stramineous Homo/Ens Legis/ Artificial Person” (artificial person); (3) the artificial person was convicted; (4) he has been incarcerated as surety chattel or security for the artificial person; and (5) he has been denied due process.

“Claims so premised are patently frivolous and without merit.”
People v Drew, Colorado Court of Appeals

Petitioner seeks to quash the summons for a number of reasons. He claims that the summons was issued without lawful authority, that the “Summons form lists Petitioner’s name in caps, utilizing the Alter-Ego, Doctrine of Mortmain, to which Petitioner is not subject”, that section 7602 “does not have authorizing federal regulations to enforce compliance,” the summons itself was a sham and a fraud, the summons is not relevant to a legitimate purpose, and the data sought is already in Respondent’s possession.

The Petitioner raised nearly all of the same arguments in the matter Russell v. United States, (No. 1:94-CV-672) 1994 WL 750673 (W.D.Mich.1994). In that opinion, this Court found that Petitioner’s arguments, “lack merit”, are “wholly baseless”, and “lack an arguable basis in either law or in fact.” This Court finds that its conclusions as to the merit of Petitioner’s arguments have not changed since the above opinion was issued.

Petitioner has raised one new argument in that he claims because his name is in all capital letters on the summons, he is not subject to the summons. As to this argument, this Court will follow the Eighth Circuit when it responded to an argument of similar merit when it stated “[t]hese issues are completely without merit, patently frivolous, and will be rejected without expending any more of this Court’s resources on their discussion.”      United States v. Jagim, 978 F.2d 1032, 1036 (8th Cir.1992)
Russel v United States 969 F. Supp. 24, 25 (W.D. Mich. 1997)

…Jaeger asserts that “All capital letters changes the status of an individual significantly, as it creates a  corporate`person’ (which plaintiff is not) and changes the status of an individual (which plaintiff has not authorized). See Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed. at 191.”

The court does not believe that the cited authority supports Jaeger’s proposition, because the definitions found on the cited page of Black’s Law Dictionary have to do with the financial basis of a corporation, not the way in which names are written.

The court finds Jaeger’s arguments concerning capitalization otherwise specious. The court routinely capitalizes the names of all parties before this court in all matters, civil and criminal, without any regard to their corporate or individual status...Jaeger’s motions to strike are denied..
Jaeger v. Dubuque County, 880 F. Supp. 640, 643 (N.D. Iowa 1995)

Rejected criminal defendant’s contention that he was not properly identified in federal government documents that misspelled his name or used his properly spelled name in all capital letters.
United States v. Furman, 168 F. Supp. 2d 609 (E.D. La. 2001)

“Wright brings what he has labeled a ‘motion to dismiss for plaintiff’s lack of standing and misjoinder of parties.’ First, he contends that since the amended complaint states that this action is brought against ‘FLOYD A. WRIGHT’ and his name is ‘Floyd A. Wright’, he is not the proper defendant. … These arguments are patently frivolous and the motion is thus summarily DENIED.”
United States v. Wright, 83 A.F.T.R.2d 99-533, KTC 1998-630, No. S-94-1183 (U.S.D.C. E.D.Cal. 1998)

It is also rejected by courts in other countries that base their legal system on English common law. You can find an analysis refuting this and other common “freeman/sovereign” arguments in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta decision Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571, at http://canlii.ca/t/fsvjq

That is what the Courts say when this theory is offered to support a legal position, they call it frivolous and meritless and say it “lacks merit; are wholly baseless; lack an arguable basis in either law or in fact; are completely without merit; and specious.”

So that is how the courts see these arguments. And sometimes they fine people for making them. And if you try to get the mythical “money” in the mythical “name account” you may get a not so mythical prison term for fraud.

And again, even if you decide that’s unconstitutional, the Courts have the power to make it quite constitutional for their purposes, and you must bear the consequences if you fail to accept their determinations.

It is agreed that ideas can be powerful, but what power is there in a theory no court will accept or enforce; and the vast majority of people think is wrong? If enough people believed it then those people could create a new government though you can’t actually govern sovereign individuals…so it really is impossible.

=                                       More Blogs by Philipem 1000                                       =

Sovereign Citizens and Fellow Travelers
=                                                          The Law                                                          =
Sources Of Law and Authority

Are Statutes Laws?  What About Regulations ?

Strawman Theory and CAPITAL Letters

=                                                  The US and the States                                                =

Do You Need a License to Drive ?
The United States Is A Corporation
(Or If You Prefer, It Can Be An Elephant )
The US Became Bankrupt in 1933 &
Federal Reserve Notes are Not Legal Currency

The United States is still a British Colony

There are Three United States

=                                                 The Courts                                                     =

A Lost 13th Amendment
Removes all Legitimacy from Courts
All US Courts hear only Admiralty Cases

US Courts are not Admiralty after all,
but instead Equity Courts


US Courts are Administrative, Not Judicial

All Lawyers take a Secret Oath to Hide ‘The TRUTH

Posted in Sovereign Citizen Crackpot Theories | 1 Comment

Are Statutes Laws? Are Codes? What About Regulations?

Shortlink to this blog: http://wp.me/p3nYC8-Od

To learn some of the basics about the Sovereign Citizens
and similar movements start at  http://wp.me/p3nYC8-fD

To learn about Sources of Law  http://wp.me/p3nYC8-fF

In this blog…

What is Law; What are Laws?

The Rule of Law is More Than Just a Rule

The Definition of Statute

Court Cases About Statutes

Sovereign Citizen Arguments Against Statutes

Consent of the Governed

Who Makes Laws?

Legislative Powers

The Power of the Congress to pass LAWS

State Power to make LAW via Statutes and Ordinances

Powers of Sovereignty in States

What About Codes?

What About Regulations?


Over time people have challenged the credibility of my arguments, and the credibility of many different governmental actions, because they are based on statutory provisions, that is, on statutes. This challenge takes the simple form of this statement:

“Those are statutes and statutes are not laws.”

This concept is widely circulated and fervently argued by those who need to believe it and never more than by sovereign citizens. If you ever point to a law they don’t like they will likely call it a statute and say it is not a law.

After all, the basic underlying theory of the sovereign citizens and their freeman on the land fellow travelers is that they are only subject to that which they have agreed. They undoubtedly have not agreed to the enacted statutes of most legislative bodies.

For many, that means “laws must be voluntary,” and for all, it is much more convenient to be able to claim that the provisions that irk them are voluntary rules, infringements on their rights, optional for them; anything but a law.

They may agree they are bound by, for example, “natural” law, “common” law as they define them; but they don’t want other laws (especially written ones, recent ones, and ones they cannot unilaterally change or reject).

Why the Fuss?

People will tell you a statute is not a law because they don’t want to be bound by statutes, nor by governments. If Statutes are not law they don’t have to be obeyed.

They will say statutes are voluntary or a matter of contract or some other gibberish. They will claim the state or the U.S. is a corporation and you must contract with the state if you are to be bound by its laws.

Or they will claim only the Uniform Commercial Code is the law, which of course is commercial contract law enacted by a state, ironically, in a statute!

That’s all nonsense.

Statutes can put you in jail for life or execute you. Is that voluntary? Do you contract for prison or death? That alone tells you government is not a business nor a company.

At any rate it is convenient to say “statutes are not laws,” when you don’t want to obey them.

They can’t show any evidence that statutes are not laws. They have no real authorities in the history or practice of law that support that idea.

No Court decision says that; no Constitution says it; no Law passed by a legislature says it. Nor does any legal dictionary nor regular dictionary say it.

So they fall back on bare pronouncements or claim superior law and then they demand you prove that they are laws. Of course it’s not up to you to prove it since it’s their claim. But it turns out not so difficult to prove.

Of course they will not accept any amount of proof that they are wrong but in fact they are and it’s quite clear and simple to show it.

First let’s look at what a “law” actually is; then prove that statutes are laws; then we will consider the other attacks upon the law when it takes the form of a Code or Regulation.

What is Law; What are Laws?

What Do The Dictionaries Say?
Law, noun
a (1) :  a binding custom or practice of a community :  a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority
(2) :  the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules
(3) :  common law
Mirriam-Webster online accessed 17 Dec 2015
Law, noun
1.the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision.
2.any written or positive rule or collection of rules prescribed under the authority of the state or nation, as by the people in its constitution.  Compare bylaw, statute law.
3. the controlling influence of such rules; the condition of society brought about by their observance: maintaining law and order.
4. a system or collection of such rules
7. an act of the supreme legislative body of a state or nation, as distinguished from the constitution.
Cambridge Dictionary
Law   noun (rule)  [Cambridge Dictionary]

a rule made by a government that states how people may and may not behave in society and in business, and that often orders particular punishments if they do not obey, or a system of such rules.


A law is a rule that is binding, enforced, and one can be punished for not obeying or may be ordered on threat of punishment to obey.


The Rule of Law — More Than Just a Rule

Indeed we speak of The Rule of Law as being fundamental to our society. No law passed by a legislature will have unanimous agreement of all humans; and thus no true law could exist by that measure; but lack of laws is anarchy; which means whoever can force others to his will gets his way.

We base the orderly functioning and fundamental justice of our entire society upon the  “Rule of Law;” Laws shield us from others and even from government itself.

The Rule of Law is the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.
(First Result from googling “What is the Rule of Law”)

Rule of Law Definition:  That individuals, persons and government shall submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals. 
Duhaime’s Law Dictionary

Without laws we have no effective freedoms. This is a corollary of the Rule of Law

My position throughout my blogs is that Law is made by humans, has always been made by humans, and there is a long history of legal principles and thought which can be found in writing.

Law evolves as societies evolve.

Humans when gathered in any significant number will ALWAYS create governments, and those strike the balance between societal needs and individual needs in different ways according to the values of those societies.

Indeed the essential tension of every human society is how to balance the freedom of the individual with the needs of the greater society; no perfect balance can ever exist, but each society must and will strike some balance.

Too much for the individual and the society fails, too collective and the people are not served and will ultimately bring it down.

Neither extreme works for long. Both are scary; terms for them might be anarchy on the one hand and fascism on the other. The best results are somewhere in the middle.

In our tradition we have a concept called the RULE OF LAW which is the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.

The ideal characteristics of a systemic rule of law (not to be achieved perfectly by fallible humans) are:

  • The government and its officials and agents as well as all individuals and private entities are accountable under the law. No one is exempt from the laws.
  • The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.
  • The processes by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
  • Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

In OUR legal tradition there is a government to which every person (human being) is subject; and the people collectively exercise power over that government.

We have a written constitution and it is the supreme law of the land.

The legislative function of our governments is the part which has the power to make law; the judicial has the power to interpret the law, to say what it means, and to apply it to specific cases; and the executive function executes the law, enforces it. Separation of powers limits the power of government to help protect the individual.

 Definition of Statute

They are called statutes, or statute law or statutory law. In Latin the word began as status meaning state and evolved to statutem which means “established” as in established law of a state.  The dictionary tells us a statute (or an enactment, or an act) is a law. It is passed by a legislature. And the very words “legislate” or “legislature” mean law making.

But they are also called statutes to distinguish legislative law from other kinds of law such as constitutional law, case law, common law.


Statutory law, noun

1.  the written law established by enactments expressing the will of the legislature, as distinguished from the unwritten law or common law.   Also called statute law.

When we look to dictionaries, general or legal, every single one says a statute is a law in so many words.


StatuteA law enacted by a legislative body – such as the United States Congress, or a state senate. Statutes are the primary source of law in the United States, and typically authorize an administrative agency (such as the Federal Communications Commission, or the Securities Exchange Commission) to adopt rules pursuant to the Statute.

Merriam Webster

Statute  1 : a law enacted by the legislative branch of a government


Statute  noun:
1. an
enactment made by a legislature and expressed in a formal document.
the document in which such an enactment is expressed.


Enact, verb (used with object)

 1, to make into an act or statute:
Congress has enacted a new tax law.

Enactment noun;

1. the act of enacting.
2. the state or fact of being enacted.
3.something that is enacted; a law or statute.
4.a single provision of a law.

[“an Act of Parliament” would be an enactment by a legislature and an enactment by the legislature is a law.]

Free Dictionary


1. A law enacted by a legislature
2. A decree or edict as of a ruler.

Legal Dictionary.com  

statute. n. a Federal or state written law enacted by the Congress or state legislature, respectively. Local statutes or laws are usually called “ordinances.”

Merriam Webster

verb: legislate

to make laws
to control, create, or cause (something) by making laws
to perform the function of legislation; specifically:  to make or enact law
to mandate, establish, or regulate by or as if by legislation

1.  a deliberative body of persons, usually elective, who areempowered to make, change, or repeal the laws of a country or state; the branch of government having the powerto make laws, as distinguished from the executive and judicial branches of government.

adjective adverb or verb:
the power to legislate. Legislate (used without object), legislated, legislating, to exercise the function of legislation, to make or enact laws.


  • The legislative power is the power to make law.
  • It is exercised by the legislative branch.
  • And its legislative enactments are laws, called statutes.

Court Cases About Statutes

The courts have demonstrated that they consider statutes to be laws; indeed they don’t usually bother to say it because it so clearly the case. It is quite rare for a court to rule that a statute is a law because they simply refuse any consideration to the idea that it isn’t. No reputable attorney would even make the argument.

Thus I have not found a single simple sentence that so declares it. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing in the records.

Nothing can be a crime unless there is a law that makes it a crime. In 1908 the U.S. Supreme in the case is Twining v. State clearly showed a state statute is a law:

“…Such an act is made a misdemeanor by a statute of the State, (P.L. 1899, p. 450, at 461), which is as follows:

“Every director, officer, agent or clerk of any trust company who willfully and knowingly subscribes or makes any false statement of facts or false entries in the books … or willfully or knowingly subscribes to or makes any false report, shall be guilty of a high misdemeanor and punished accordingly.”
Twining v. State, 211 U.S. 78 (1908)

If a statute is not a law how can it make some act a criminal— one for which one can be tried? What can a statute be if it defines crimes, if it is not a law?


I did find one comment on a video that said there is a case showing statutes are not laws, citing Flournoy v First National Bank.

But in fact that case is about a statute that was found to be unconstitutional. And it tells us a statute has the “form and name of law.” The case was to decide how to handle issues that had been dealt with under it before it was declared unconstitutional. In that case the court said:

“”The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be In agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows: The general rule is well stated in Volume XI, American Jurisprudence, verbo ‘Constitutional Law,’ Sec. 148, page 827, as follows:

“The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and in legal contemplation is as inoperative as if it had never been passed…””

Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport 197 La. 1067,1083 (La. 1941)

Well if an unconstitutional statute has “the form and name of law” surely a constitutional one does. A (constitutional) statute has the “form and name” of law, and (as long as constitutional) it is in reality law. Indeed the opening paragraph in the quote does not say statutes are not law it says that unconstitutional statues are not valid law.


Constitutional statutes are laws; it’s really that simple. And the Constitution as quoted calls the acts of Congress laws.


Sovereign Citizen Arguments Against Statutes

Statutes are not laws because “Law[s] are always just – they protect our rights and freedoms.”

That is a nice idea but it’s not a fact and not found in the study of law.

Again we are talking about humans and a human institution. It is true that in general laws protect rights and freedom because without them it is the domination of the strong. Besides, who but the Courts have the power to decide if a law is protecting rights and freedom?

Law includes the interposition between the powerful and powerless of a mechanism to balance legitimate needs and rights. But law is indeed useless if it is not practical and no quest for perfection is expected.

Of course whether a law actually is just or protects rights and freedoms is a matter subject to some opinionated interpretation. So doubtless sovereigns looking at particular laws will divine some injustice and thus invalidate the law in their mind. In fact the Sovereigns want to decide individually and personally whether a law protects. But we know humans will differ in such judgments, and often based on personal interests. It’s not workable. The guy who is hurt by a law will almost always find the law is wrong.

The sovereign also suggests many other ways in which laws and statutes are different — again with no source or authority. These are tablets from the mountain. We are to believe without proof.

“you will not find any statute that calls itself a law, nor any act of Congress.

Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but so what? 

Any law passed by Congress regardless of what it calls itself is a law because in fact the Constitution says it is a law.  See Article I Section 7 where it is explicitly stated that Congress makes Laws.

There is nothing magical about the word “law” that it must be included in laws. “Act” means the same thing. And “legislation” is the product of a legislature, and is law.

Sovereigns again:

“Law refers to common law. Common law tops any form of legislative statute. Also God’s/natural laws top common law.”

This statement is accompanied as usual with no authority. And in fact it is simply not true under the Constitution. Our system recognizes the Constitution of the U.S. as Supreme Law so we do not bow to ‘natural law’, whatever it may be. We recognize no law of any kind superior to the Constitution.

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land…”
Article 6  US Constitution

No doubt a statute may take away a common law right, but there is always a presumption that the legislature has no such intention unless it be plainly expressed.”
Meister v. Moore 96 U.S. 76 (1877)

I must point out that is also wrong as to English Common Law, the law of cases, as Parliament can override Common Law at will, by passing a statute that changes the common law.  It is undeniably inferior to statutory law as the King in Parliament is the sovereign and supreme legal authority in that system.

Legislation vs Common Law

It is a well-established principle inherited from British constitutional law that parliament is sovereign or all powerful. … subject to constitutional limitations, it means that in theory parliament can make any law it wants to, even if it is contrary to what most people would regard as their basic rights. ….

The practical result of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is that legislation prevails over common law. If there is a conflict between legislation and the common law, legislation will over-ride the common law. However, that conflict must be clear. There is a presumption that rights under common law continue unless the legislation clearly does away with them.
Tasmania Law Book Elements of the Criminal Justice System

(See my blog for more about Sources of Law and natural law.)

‘Natural law’  is religiously based and presumes itself to be the highest law anywhere. God has too many spokespersons in the US and we don’t recognize them.

You cannot open a book and find in clear words what natural law says, because it is not written or defined, and as I said those who speak for god give a lot of different answers.

Consent of the Governed – Uniform Application of Law

“Consent must be given by the individual and not by a collective on behalf of the individual – this would be dictatorship by the majority. Each individual must have the absolute right to give and withhold their consent.”

Well, obviously this person is a subscriber to at least parts of the sovereign citizen legends. There is no authority nor any proof offered. Nor can any be found.

No legal tradition, constitutional provision, legal enactment, court decision, nor anything that happened in history is offered to show that it is true. Not even a learned treatise or law review article validates this idea, which is very new in legal terms, not a deep historical viewpoint. It is simply an opinion stated as fact.

In fact sovereignty is a matter of collective, not individual power.

“From the Crown of Great Britain, the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it …and then the people, in their collective and national capacity, established the present ConstitutionEvery State Constitution is a compact made by and between the citizens of a State to govern themselves in a certain manner … the Constitution of the United States is likewise a compact made by the people of the United States to govern themselves
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 2 Dall. 419 419 (1793)

“Dictatorship of the majority” is a valid concern; but in the U.S. the Constitutional protection of the individual and the division of power are attempts to restrain the power of the majority.  Like everything else made by humans it’s not perfect. Ultimately majority rule is a reality in human society unless we prefer dictatorships or oligarchies. Which we sometimes do.

If it takes 100% consent to make a law apply to everyone then it does not meet the definition of a law; no law will ever get 100% approval of the people. So it will never apply to everyone, and in fact, anyone who doesn’t like this or that law gets to choose not to obey, it’s a recipe for anarchistic chaos. This way of doing things inevitably means that there is in reality no law at all; no law is possible and therefore no government is possible and that is not freedom; it is the opposite of freedom. It is the opposite of the rule of law for sure.

Law is subject to the collective consent of the governed, but no society could exist and no government functions if it requires the unanimous consent of every person. Because no law would every receive such unanimous consent.

And if a law does not apply to all it is not a law. By definition it is not law if people can exempt themselves from it.

Our society has never held individual assent (and certainly not universal assent) as a legal tradition, nor even a possibility, in our nation or national history; and in fact no society or government anywhere at any time in all human history has operated on that principle.

You won’t find any legislative enactment (law or otherwise) that says that.

You won’t even find that idea written about before the 1970’s. The idea grew out of speculation by members of the posse comitatus movement which first emerged in 1969.

You won’t find a single court decision that ever said individual assent to the law is required; just the opposite in fact. You will see court cases that explicitly say everyone must obey the law.

Here’s what a court says on this subject; this is case law:

In order for our scheme of ordered liberties to succeed, we must all obey valid laws, even those with which we do not agree; a man cannot exempt himself from the operation of a law simply by declaring that he does not consent to have it apply to him.
City of Salina v. Wisden (Utah 1987) 737 P2d 981

And another court:

The Court therefore feels some measure of responsibility to inform Defendant that all the fancy legal-sounding things he has read on the internet are make-believe. …at the end of the day, … sovereign citizens and Defendant … are subject to both state and federal laws, just like everyone else.
Order, docket entry 102, 2/12/2013, United States v. Kenneth Wayne Leaming, DC WD Washington.

Tellingly, there is not even a process by which one can withhold nor give consent to be ruled by law. How do we know a sovereign has exempted himself from a law or assented to it? He will tell us when he is arrested. Or he will send in made up paperwork to some public official who he presumes has the authority to record and the obligation to inform every public official everywhere.

“I did not agree to not murder anyone nor to be subject to your system.”

“Oh well off you go then…”

True every rule, every law, doubtless takes away some bit of freedom from someone and limits what they may do; but many laws are enacted precisely to protect the rights of others, to reduce the freedom to impinge on others’ rights.

Without the force of law” there is no law and no value derived from it and no protection by the law.

Laws prohibit theft, pollution of the air and water, sexual crimes, the right to possess and use property and prevent the use of property to the harm of the neighbors. Driver license laws promote safety and protect the right to travel. Zoning laws ensure your neighbor doesn’t start making explosives for his fireworks company next door to you.

No. Courts do not recognize these bold and groundless assertions and do not accept these principles or definitions and do not rule using them. So claiming that they are “right” or “statutes are not laws” is a meaningless exercise when the courts will not rule accordingly.

Who Makes Laws?

Legislative Powers

Legislation refers to the preparation and enactment of laws by a legislative body through its lawmaking process. The legislative power is the power to make laws. It is derived from the Latin, leges, plural meaning “laws.” (lex, singular, legis, genetive, “of or related to law”)

That process is defined in broad strokes by a Constitution.

Legislative power is exercised by the legislative branch. In some places legislative power is shared, for example referendum and initiative are concepts that allow the people to directly legislate or have a veto power over laws enacted by legislatures. But it is the Legislative Branch that makes laws.

The Power of the Congress to pass LAWS

But in the case of Congress it is manifestly clear that it has the power to and it does pass LAWS.

Here is what our Constitution says:

“Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, … it shall become a law …If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Article I Section 7 U.S. Constitution

Legislative enactments by Congress are laws.  The Constitution says so.

The United States Code or USC is a collection and organization of the laws passed by Congress using the Constitutional process. Not every single law passed is in the USC but most of them are especially the criminal ones.


State Power to make LAW
Statutes and Ordinances

The process of adopting a statute in each state is defined usually in its Constitution. For example, The California Constitution leaves us no doubt in Article IV Section 8(b) (1)

The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may enact no statute except by bill.

So you see legislative authority, the power to make law, is given to the appropriate branch of the government of the state, and in California for the Legislature, it is the power to enact a statute.

It can be given by statute to cities and towns and counties (and are also given to the people through referendum and initiative as specified in the Constitution). Those bodies can create law or change law.

Statutes and Ordinances are the laws they create. Ordinance is the usual term by which a law passed by a city, county or other subdivision of the state is known.

Powers of Sovereignty in States

The ability of the legislature to pass statutory law is limited by the U.S. and State Constitutions and in general include the powers recognized as belonging to sovereigns that have not been delegated to Congress.

The Congress has only the specific powers delegated to it by the Constitution but the States and have the powers reserved to them by the Tenth Amendment. Those include the powers of sovereignty as the States are sovereign.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Amendment X U.S. Constitution

The courts have found the States and the Federal Government are the governing bodies of the sovereign people; the powers granted to the people in that amendment are exercised by the State unless the people in their State Constitution provide otherwise..

“From the Crown of Great Britain, the sovereignty of their country passed to the people of it… and thirteen sovereignties were considered as emerged from the principles of the Revolution ….and then the people, in their collective and national capacity, established the present Constitution… Every State Constitution is a compact made by and between the citizens of a State to govern themselves in a certain manner and the Constitution of the United States is likewise a compact made by the people of the United States to govern themselves
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 2 Dall. 419 419 (1793)

In the Arizona Constitution we see how counties, cities or other bodies gain authority to make laws, called Ordinances usually.

Arizona Constitution in Art 1 Sec 1 provides:

The legislative authority of the state shall be vested in the legislature, consisting of a senate and a house of representatives… The powers of the initiative and the referendum are hereby further reserved to the qualified electors of every incorporated city, town, and county as to all local, city, town, or county matters on which such incorporated cities, towns, and counties are or shall be empowered by general laws to legislate.

Legislate? That means “to make laws.”

OK so it is clear that Statutes really are laws, let’s look at why this is so significant and find more support for that contention.


What About Codes?

The proponents of these ideas will often claim that a code is not law. Again, they fundamentally are seeking a rationale to deny the existence and power of the law.

A legal code is a book of laws – like a phone directory is a book of phone numbers or a dictionary is a book of definitions.

A legal code is simply a convenient way of gathering laws together, of organizing them. It doesn’t have to be a physical book, you can it online and nowadays that’s where we almost always find them. Here are more definitions that clarify:

Law code or legal code:
“A code is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted, by a process of codification.”

legal code
a code of laws adopted by a state or nation; “a code of laws”
Examples jus civile, Justinian code, Roman law, civil law – the legal code of ancient Rome; codified under Justinian; the basis for many modern systems of civil law

Salic law
the code of laws of the Salian Franks and other German tribes

criminal law
the body of law dealing with crimes and their punishment

code, codification
a set of rules or principles or laws (especially written ones)

penal code
the legal code governing crimes and their punishment

The Code of Hammurabi was one of the earliest in recorded history. It was a set of laws. The Napoleonic Code is the basis of law in France and other places including Louisiana.

Look at the Alabama Code online:

“Code of Alabama and Constitution”

“Welcome to FindLaw’s hosted version of the Code of Alabama. Here you will find a collection of state laws passed by the Alabama Legislature and organized by subject area into Titles, Chapters and Sections.” 

Legal Codes are collections of laws; a book of laws if you will. It could not be more clear or more simple.  The idea that parts of codes are laws and others are not; or that codes per se are not law, is nonsense.

If you really don’t accept it after all this time, I challenge you to verify my information or prove me wrong. In a legal code each provision is directly traceable to a legislative enactment.

You can test this as to any state law, simply go to a law library — most counties and many law schools have one open to the public — and show the librarian the specific legal section of a code that you want to investigate.

Normally the librarian will be glad to show you how to trace that provision back to a specific legislative enactment passing it into law. And you can likely go back in its history to see who introduced it; and when; what legislative committees voted on it; what amendments were made to it.  You can probably find the vote recorded in each legislative proceeding and the signature of the governor or President and the date and time when it was signed.

In addition the librarian can show you how annotated codes give the history of the law as it evolved over time (many laws have been amended repeatedly over decades and centuries) and even key rulings of the courts as to what each section means.

But the key point here is that the “sections” in the code are actually provisions of the laws enacted. When codified they may be given specific numbers to fit them into an overall scheme; formal language such as “Be it enacted by the House and Senate…etc.” may be stripped out because it isn’t needed in the code compilation. It’s in the original law where it does matter.

Codes are simply a way to organize laws for convenience. They are laws.

What About Regulations?

Without going into the arguments in detail, I have found essentially two issues raised about regulations.

  1. Regulations are not laws and therefore cannot be enforced
  2. Regulations are not permitted at all, except that the government can issue regulations for itself.

I believe it is fairy simple to explain the first and dismiss the second.

It is quite true that a regulation is not a law. A law must be passed by a legislative body, a part of the Legislative branch of government. Most regulations are issued by the Executive branch. They are by definition not laws. So far we agree.

However, rules and regulations properly adopted and applied can have the force of law within their area of authority.

To have the force of law they must be made pursuant to some law which authorizes them.

Why regulations exist. Regulations exist for many reasons, among them:

  • The Legislature as a practical matter cannot and should not specify every single detail of every act of government.
  • They are used to enable the Executive to do the job of putting law into effect.
  • Regulations deal with matters that are sometimes highly technical and which a legislature is not equipped to handle.
  • Regulations are susceptible to change when the legislature is not able to act, or where it would be burdensome to refer these many changes to the legislative process

Government could not be efficiently carried on if something could not be left to the judgment and discretion of administrative officers to accomplish in detail what is authorized or required by law in general terms. Without this power legislation would become either oppressive or inefficient. There would be confusion in the laws, and in an effort to detail and particularize, the law would miss sufficiency both in provision and detail.
Thompson v. Smith, 155 Va. 367, 379 (Va. 1930)


An example will illustrate these points.

At this writing British Petroleum (BP) is in court on many legal cases seeking to hold it liable for breaking rules regarding pollution of the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The regulations and underlying laws hold them responsible to those injured and also allow the agencies and courts to impose fines for the violations of rules and regulations.

And those regulations dictate, for example, how much drilling ‘mud’ (fluid) of what density must be used in certain situations to prevent wells from blowing out. No Legislature would have the time or knowledge to make those rules, nor could they quickly change them if they got it wrong or as technology advanced.

So the statutory goals and consequences are laid out and agencies are given the power to regulate by rules. The Legislature determines the goals of the law and can limit or specify means and methods, but usually the details are left to regulations by the Executive branch.

In most cases Legislatures don’t rule make (except for themselves), they create or empower executive bodies to do that.

The Internal Revenue Code is one example of a complete and detailed set of rules in the form of a law. Even so IRS had to construct numerous rules and regulations to implement the law, specifying for example within each category of tax exemption or deduction situations that do or don’t apply.

Because laws simply can’t conceive of every circumstance that may arise, the Executive steps in to fill the gaps and smooth issues, as do the courts by applying logic and established legal principles to the goal or intentions of the legislature when it is not clear.

So the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and Highway Safety Act and others created bodies such as the EPA; and authorize agencies to adopt rules to achieve the ends the law seeks, to implement and execute the law.

Those regulations when properly adopted have in fact the force of law.

They can be challenged in Court and the creating agency must show for example that it had the authority to create them; that under the authorizing legislation these regulations have the force of law; that they are logical and consistent; that they were adopted using the proper procedures; that they are consistent with the purposes and aims of the law; that they are not arbitrary or unreasonably restrictive; and so on.

They can be challenged but they are binding absent a successful challenge.

Some arguments against regulations

I often see this case quoted for the proposition that statutes and laws don’t apply or have no force or are unconstitutional

“The common law is the real law, the supreme Law of the land, the code, rules, regulations, policy and statutes are “not the law”
Self v. Rhay, 61 Wn (2d) 261

Well that seems clear enough; the problem is that the ruling says no such thing.

Read it for yourself. Find those words. They are not there. Nothing like that is in the decision. That case is all about whether the Washington legislature followed the state constitution in the way it adopted a change to existing law. It has nothing to do with anything of regulation, rules, policy. (And note that this quote is offered also to support the idea that statutes are not laws…)

BUT here are the important words that are in that decision:

It follows that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied, the stay of execution is dissolved, and respondent is directed to produce petitioner in the Superior Court for King County for setting the time of his execution in the manner provided by law.”

That should make anyone wishing to rely on these theories to consider seriously taking a more traditional approach to the law, like hiring a lawyer. The defendant didn’t use lawyers or present defenses because the court ‘has no jurisdiction’ and is only able to hear ‘commercial cases’.

Unfortunately that is nonsense and the Courts gave it zero consideration.

Perhaps he’d have gotten a death sentence anyway, but… this is not the sentence for a commercial infraction. It’s not about money. “The King or International Banker or the BAR” will not get richer for it. But someone may well get dead for it. It’s a case about the murder of a police officer.

Also frequently quoted in this context is:

“All codes, rules, and regulations are for government authorities only, not human/Creators in accordance with God’s laws. All codes, rules,and regulations are unconstitutional and lacking due process…”
Rodrigues v. Ray Donavan (U.S. Department of Labor) 769 F. 2d 1344, 1348 (1985).

This is a wonderfully supportive quote; but it too is simply made up; those words are not in the opinion; nor does the case conclude anything remotely like that.

Rodrigues v. Ray Donavan is also often cited as proof that courts are purely administrative, not judicial; but that is a complete misreading of the case, which revolved around a matter that was the subject of an administrative hearing.

That case itself is an Equal Protection and Due Process claim under the Constitution filed in federal courts as a lawsuit, not an administrative hearing nor a ‘direct’ appeal from a hearing under statutory authority.

One of the most famous Supreme Court decisions ever made is quoted in support of the proposition:

“All laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void”
Marbury v Madison, 5th US (2Cranch)137, 174, 176 (1803)

Indeed the Marbury v Madison decision is the famous defining opinion of the judicial branch’s role in declaring what the law says, and finding laws unconstitutional and it does stand for that proposition.

However, those who say this is an absolute ban on rules or regulations mistake the grammatical meaning of that quote; they over-read what it means; and misconstrue the applicability of the key phrase: “which are repugnant to the Constitution”

They think “which” modifies “rules and practices” and thus conclude that it says “rules and practices are repugnant” to the Constitution; but if that were the case you can leave ‘which’ out of the quote to get the same result:

“All laws, rules and practices are repugnant to the Constitution
[and] are null and void”

But rules of legal interpretation require that every word in a legal document be given meaning if it can, so instead, we see that “which” modifies “repugnant to the Constitution” so that the proper understanding of this statement is

Those laws, rules and practices which are repugnant to the Constitution
are null and void;
[but those laws rules and practices which are not repugnant to the Constitution
are not null and void”]

The following words are not part of Marbury but are often found where people use the quote above, mostly because they have cut and pasted from someone who did the same and probably down a long chain of repeats:

-“Legislators simply don’t have the authority to rule make”-

That is not any part of the court’s ruling.

Also often cited is the famous Miranda case:

“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them”
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491

And that is correct. But it does not say, nor does it mean that ALL rule making or legislation per se is forbidden, rather it applies to only those rules and laws which actually abrogate rights secured by the Constitution.

Indeed for it to mean what they suggest then legislatures could not enact any laws, but they must, they do, and the Constitution expects them to do so. You could simply end the sentence at “legislation”  you don’t need “which would abrogate them”. Indeed they want it to say, “Rule making or legislation abrogates rights secured by the Constitution.” If that is what the court meant that is what it would have said.

The sovereign citizen deeply relies on the notion that rights are absolute and cannot be restrained, infringed, or balanced; but if rights collide and if no restraint is available, then might makes right, not law. Whoever is strongest will get unabridged rights and tough for the other guy and his rights. In fact, many rules and regulations and court decisions limit rights, but do not abrogate them. Indeed many play a role in protecting particular rights. 

Courts decide whether a rule or law abrogates a right secured by the Constitution (Marbury v Madison, ironically!); and Courts routinely hold that rights must be balanced against each other, so sometimes a right is restrained or restricted in order to give proper deference to a conflicting right.

Indeed a massive share of decisions by the Supreme Court are focused exactly on how to balance one right versus another.It is a major part of the role of the judiciary.

=                                More Blogs by Philipem 1000                                    =

Sovereign Citizens and Fellow Travelers
Do You Need a License to Drive ?
=                                                          The Law                                                          =
Sources Of Law and Authority

Strawman Theory and CAPITAL Letters

=                                                  The US and the States                                                =

The United States Is A Corporation
(Or If You Prefer, It Can Be An Elephant )
The US Became Bankrupt in 1933 &
Federal Reserve Notes are Not Legal Currency

The United States is still a British Colony

There are Three United States

=                                                 The Courts                                                     =

A Lost 13th Amendment
Removes all Legitimacy from Courts
All US Courts  hear only Admiralty Cases

US Courts are not Admiralty after all,
but instead Equity Courts


US Courts are Administrative, Not Judicial

All Lawyers take a Secret Oath to Hide ‘The TRUTH

Posted in Sovereign Citizen Crackpot Theories | Leave a comment

What is Mr. Magoo Legal Research?

Shortlink this blog  http://wp.me/p3nYC8-Bt

Because I often challenge sovereign citizens and others with some pretty crazy ideas, I get a lot of responses to my challenges. And they will often include “information” that poses as legal research.

Hey I am ready to be shown where I have misunderstood or missed something. I’ll change my mind if you can show me reliable information that contradicts me in a significant way.

But usually what I get is Mr Magoo legal research.

I do not accept Mr Magoo research, don’t cite a case you have not personally read all the way through and understood. No more quotes out of context from an opinion. No cut and paste of long lists of ‘cases’ from some site you have not verified.

Here are key characteristics of Mr Magoo legal research:

Offense against Humanity:
these tactics disrespect your opponent and are inhumane.

  • Ignoring clear, simple and direct expressions and substituting obtuse, inferential expressions. If you are trying to make it more complicated it’s probably because the clear and simple expressions you don’t like are right.
  • Telling the person your position and then placing the burden on them to find support for it (“go look it up”). If you don’t have the link find it, saying it is so without support is meaningless. Invariably it means you don’t actually have any proof.
  • Finding a site that agrees with you then cut and paste wholesale pages that you have not read or not examined to know that they are actually correct.
    Often this text will include one or more of the other offenses. If you haven’t studied your support material you don’t really know what it says and you don’t support your argument anyway. Odds are I’ll make you look the fool for doing it too.
  • The PERSON crime: trying to say that ‘person’ or ‘natural person’ is not a human being. Many courts have debunked this and sometimes laws directly refute it through definitions.

Offense Against Cases:

  • Failing to actually read a case before using it, to see if it truly supports your position
  • Citing a case that is really not on point, that deals with a different matter or whose principles don’t really apply to the matter at hand.
  • Citing a case that you cannot link (full decision)
    After all, I should be able to read it and see that you got it right!
    And one paragraph out of a decision could totally misrepresent the opinion.
  • Misquoting a case — fabricating a quote that is not actually in the decision
    Amazingly common it often happens when using copy and paste from sites you like that have perpetuated fake quotes. READ your cases and see if the part you like is actually there!
  • Quoting the part of a case that supports you and ignoring the parts that contradict you.
  • Misreading a case or Reading  law or case out of context;
    you must have some legal knowledge to understand cases, or you may misrepresent the actual opinion. OTOH sometimes the law or case is actually quite clear in plain English.
  • Screwing up the details such as calling it a SCOTUS decision when it is not, getting the citation wrong, getting the date wrong or ignoring the date of a decision
  • Citing a case that has been overruled.
  • Providing a list of dozens of cases and quotes from each and pretending that that is an argument. You use cases to support your argument, in and of itself a list like that means nothing. You must make an argument then show how each case supports your argument.

Offense by Definition

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    Well that’s great but I can make any law or opinion mean anything I want that way. Don’t do it.
  • Ignoring the definitions provided in a law.
  • Using definitions specifically provided in one law with a different one
  • Ignoring the plain meaning of words — courts start with the natural reading of language before they dig into ambiguous wording.
  • Finding the exact usage of a word you like and ignoring others that are more appropriate.
  • Insisting that a definition in a law dictionary such as Black’s is the only interpretation — in fact courts start with the regular dictionary. And any dictionary simply documents how words are commonly used, it is not law but meaning.
  • Using a very out of date Black’s law definition. Words change their meaning over time, and words in legal context are no different.
  • Insisting on a definition of a word that produces an absurdity.
    Courts specifically say they will not do this in interpreting a word. Neither can you.
  • Choosing the wrong law for the situation because you can also use an incorrect definition.
Posted in Sovereign Citizen Crackpot Theories | Leave a comment