Compendium of Cases

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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)

Other

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.”

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