Driver Licensing vs. Right to Travel

Driver Licensing vs. Right to Travel

Author Unknown

Right to travel, Kent v, Dulles 357 US 116 125 1958.
Right to travel, Kent v, Dulles 357 US 116 125 1958.

The following argument has been used in at least three states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia) as a legal brief to support a demand for dismissal of charges of “driving without a license.” It is the argument that was the reason for the charges to be dropped, or for a “win” in court against the argument that free people can have their right to travel regulated by their servants. The forgotten legal maxim is that free people have a right to travel on the roads which are provided by their servants for that purpose, using ordinary transportation of the day. Licensing cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of a right. The driver’s license can be required of people who use the highways for trade, commerce, or hire; that is, if they earn their living on the road, and if they use extraordinary machines on the roads. If you are not using the highways for profit, you cannot be required to have a driver’s license.

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BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF NOTICE FOR DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION

NOW, comes the Accused, appearing specially and not generally or voluntarily, but under threat of arrest if he failed to do so, with this “BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF NOTICE FOR DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION,” stating as follows:

ARGUMENT

If ever a judge understood the public’s right to use the public roads, it was Justice Tolman of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington. Justice Tolman stated:

“Complete freedom of the highways is so old and well established a blessing that we have forgotten the days of the Robber Barons and toll roads, and yet, under an act like this, arbitrarily administered, the highways may be completely monopolized, if, through lack of interest, the people submit, then they may look to see the most sacred of their liberties taken from them one by one, by more or less rapid encroachment.”

Robertson vs. Department of Public Works, 180 Wash 133, 147.

The words of Justice Tolman ring most prophetically in the ears of Citizens throughout the country today as the use of the public roads has been monopolized by the very entity which has been empowered to stand guard over our freedoms, i.e., that of state government.

RIGHTS

The “most sacred of liberties” of which Justice Tolman spoke was personal liberty. The definition of personal liberty is:

“Personal liberty, or the Right to enjoyment of life and liberty, is one of the fundamental or natural Rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from, or dependent on, the U.S. Constitution, which may not be submitted to a vote and may not depend on the outcome of an election. It is one of the most sacred and valuable Rights, as sacred as the Right to private property … and is regarded as inalienable.”

16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sect.202, p.987

This concept is further amplified by the definition of personal liberty:

“Personal liberty largely consists of the Right of locomotion — to go where and when one pleases — only so far restrained as the Rights of others may make it necessary for the welfare of all other citizens. The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another’s Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct.”

II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135

and further …

“Personal liberty — consists of the power of locomotion, of changing situations, of removing one’s person to whatever place one’s inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due process of law.”

Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed.; Blackstone’s Commentary 134; Hare, Constitution, Pg. 777

right-to-travel
Know your Right-to-travel! (click image to enlarge)

Justice Tolman was concerned about the State prohibiting the Citizen from the “most sacred of his liberties,” the Right of movement, the Right of moving one’s self from place to place without threat of imprisonment, the Right to use the public roads in the ordinary course of life.

When the State allows the formation of a corporation it may control its creation by establishing guidelines (statutes) for its operation (charters). Corporations who use the roads in the course of business do not use the roads in the ordinary course of life. There is a difference between a corporation and an individual. The United States Supreme Court has stated:

“…We are of the opinion that there is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination on the suit of the State. The individual may stand upon his Constitutional Rights as a Citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. Continue reading “Driver Licensing vs. Right to Travel”