DESPITE ACTIONS OF POLICE AND LOCAL COURTS, HIGHER COURTS HAVE RULED THAT AMERICAN CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO TRAVEL WITHOUT STATE PERMITS
By Jack McLamb
from Aid & Abet Newsletter)
For years professionals within the criminal justice system have acted on the belief that traveling by motor vehicle was a privilege that was given to a citizen only after approval by their state government in the form of a permit or license to drive. In other words, the individual must be granted the privilege before his use of the state highways was considered legal.
Legislators, police officers, and court officials are becoming aware that there are court decisions that disprove the belief that driving is a privilege and therefore requires government approval in the form of a license. Presented here are some of these cases:
CASE #2: "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." Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 579.
CASE #4: "The right to travel is a well-established common right that does not owe its existence to the federal government. It is recognized by the courts as a natural right." Schactman v. Dulles 96 App DC 287, 225 F2d 938, at 941.
Government -- in requiring the people to obtain drivers licenses, and accepting vehicle inspections and DUI/DWI roadblocks without question -- is restricting, and therefore violating, the people's common law right to travel.
Is this a new legal interpretation on this subject? Apparently not. This means that the beliefs and opinions our state legislators, the courts, and those in law enforcement have acted upon for years have been in error. Researchers armed with actual facts state that case law is overwhelming in determining that to restrict the movement of the individual in the free exercise of his right to travel is a serious breach of those freedoms secured by the U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions.
That means it is unlawful.
The revelation that the American citizen has always had the inalienable right to travel raises profound questions for those who are involved in making and enforcing state laws.
The first of such questions may very well be this: If the states have been enforcing laws that are unconstitutional on their face, it would seem that there must be some way that a state can legally put restrictions -- such as licensing requirements, mandatory insurance, vehicle registration, vehicle inspections to name just a few -- on a citizen's constitutionally protected rights. Is that so?
For the answer, let us look, once again, to the U.S. courts for a determination of this very issue.
And in Bennett v. Boggs, 1 Baldw 60, "Statutes that violate the plain and obvious principles of common right and common reason are null and void."
Other cases are even more straight forward:
"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.
"The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime." Miller v. US, 230 F 486, at 489.
"There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional rights." Sherer v. Cullen, 481 F 946.
The answer is found in Article Six of the U.S. Constitution:
If we are to follow the letter of the law, (as we are sworn to do), this places officials who involve themselves in such unlawful acts in an unfavorable legal situation. For it is a felony and federal crime to violate or deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected rights. Our system of law dictates that there are only two ways to legally remove a right belonging to the people.
These are (1) by lawfully amending the constitution, or (2) by a person knowingly waiving a particular right.
Some of the confusion on our present system has arisen because many millions of people have waived their right to travel unrestricted and volunteered into the jurisdiction of the state. Those who have knowingly given up these rights are now legally regulated by state law and must acquire the proper permits and registrations.
There are basically two groups of people in this category:
This in itself raises a very interesting question. What percentage of the people in each state have applied for and received licenses, registrations and obtained insurance after erroneously being advised by their government that it was mandatory?
Many of our courts, attorneys and police officials are just becoming informed about this important issue and the difference between privileges and rights.
We can assume that the majority of those Americans carrying state licenses and vehicle registrations have no knowledge of the rights they waived in obeying laws such as these that the U.S. Constitution clearly states are unlawful, i.e. laws of no effect -laws that are not laws at all.
An area of serious consideration for every police officer is to understand that the most important law in our land which he has taken an oath to protect, defend, and enforce, is not state laws and city or county ordinances, but the law that supercedes all other laws -- the U.S. Constitution. If laws in a particular state or local community conflict with the supreme law of our nation, there is no question that the officer's duty is to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Every police officer should keep the following U.S. court ruling --discussed earlier -- in mind before issuing citations concerning licensing, registration, and insurance:
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