Speech, Barak Obama, Oct 17th 2013 8:18 a.m.’
“Let’s work together to make the government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy, or making it work worse. That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government.
(Youtube Karl Lentz 57 to 100: @ 2:06
Karl Lentz said, OMG! There you have it people, they give you full disclosure to figure out what you desire….They put truth right before you…….(Go figure what the repugs do now for Sanhedrin……………RP)
COMMON LAW -V- STATUTORY CODES
The enemies of Liberty that have infiltrated our government would have you to believe that Common (Natural) Law is passé and have been legislated away. We the People ordained the constitution that created and governs our government, how then can the “created” supersede the “creator” and by what authority? They have none!
(KJV Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…..RP)
The People’s US Constitution Article VI, Clause 2, known as the “Supremacy Clause” denies the ability of the servant to act as master: “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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding”.
The People’s US Constitution Article IV, section 4 guarantees a “Republican” form of government not a democracy, the un-codified common law is the superior law of the people and the codified civil law is the special or inferior law of the government and its agency. Therefore the law and the will of the people outranks the law of the government and access to the common law is guaranteed and protected in law by the U.S. Constitution.
We the People never gave our legislators authority to legislate our behavior or the ability to legislate away our “Heritage” aka “Natural or Common Law”. Our heritage is “Liberty” through unalienable rights from God, not man, and God cannot be discarded by legislators. William Penn said: “Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants”.
Finally I council you with the words of John Adams where he said: “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but It is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies”.
(While I find the above to be inline according to Common Law, Open Court of Record, natural rights and agree, I advise that an individual does not attempt to cite code and statutes as per Karl Lentz @ http://www.broadmind.org
Driver Licensing vs. the Right to Travel
The entirety of what you find below is transcribed exactly from what was sent to me by a fellow liberty-minded person. It is itself a transcription of a brief, not a direct, per-character copy of the brief. This is unfortunate, but I’m trying to nail down some of the references, and especially some of the cases in which this particular brief was used. –Karl Kleinpaste, March 14, 1995.
The following 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 charges being 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. In other words, if you are not using the highways for profit, you cannot be required to have a driver’s license.
This brief or the right it demonstrates is no substitute for either being safe on the road or for learning the subject of rights versus regulations thoroughly before attempting to use or act upon this information.
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:
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.
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 horsedrawn 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.” [emphasis added] II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135.
“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.” 1 Blackstone’s Commentary 134; Hare, Constitution__.777; Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed.
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. He owes no duty to the State or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to investigation, so far as it may tend to incriminate him. He owes no such duty to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life, liberty, and property. His Rights are such as the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the state, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his Rights are the refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under warrant of law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights.
“Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the state. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the state and the limitations of its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only preserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that the State, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, could not in exercise of its sovereignty inquire how those franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of corporate books and papers for that purpose.” [emphasis added] Hale vs. Hinkel, 201 US 43, 74-75.
Corporations engaged in mercantile equity fall under the purview of the State’s admiralty jurisdiction, and the public at large must be protected from their activities, as they (the corporations) are engaged in business for profit.
“…Based upon the fundamental ground that the sovereign state has the plenary control of the streets and highways in the exercise of its police power (see police power, infra.), may absolutely prohibit the use of the streets as a place for the prosecution of a private business for gain. They all recognize the fundamental distinction between the ordinary Right of the Citizen to use the streets in the usual way and the use of the streets as a place of business or a main instrumentality of business for private gain. The former is a common Right, the latter is an extraordinary use. As to the former the legislative power is confined to regulation, as to the latter it is plenary and extends even to absolute prohibition. Since the use of the streets by a common carrier in the prosecution of its business as such is not a right but a mere license of privilege.” Hadfield vs. Lundin, 98 Wash 657l, 168, p.516.
It will be necessary to review early cases and legal authority in order to reach a lawfully correct theory dealing with this Right or “privilege.” We will attempt to reach a sound conclusion as to what is a “Right to use the road” and what is a “privilege to use the road”. Once reaching this determination, we shall then apply those positions to modern case decision.
“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.
“The claim and exercise of a constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime.” Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. 486, 489.
“There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional Rights.” Snerer vs. Cullen, 481 F. 946.
Streets and highways are established and maintained for the purpose of travel and transportation by the public. Such travel may be for business or pleasure.
“The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.” [emphasis added] Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.
“The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” [emphasis added] Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579.
So we can see that a Citizen has a Right to travel upon the public highways by automobile and the Citizen cannot be rightfully deprived of his Liberty. So where does the misconception that the use of the public road is always and only a privilege come from?
“…For while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place for private gain. For the latter purpose no person has a vested right to use the highways of the state, but is a privilege or a license which the legislature may grant or withhold at its discretion.” State vs. Johnson, 243 P. 1073; Hadfield, supra; Cummins vs. Homes, 155 P. 171; Packard vs. Banton, 44 S.Ct. 256; and other cases too numerous to mention.
Here the court held that a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways, but that he did not have the right to conduct business upon the highways. On this point of law all authorities are unanimous.
“Heretofore the court has held, and we think correctly, that while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place of business for private gain.” Barney vs. Board of Railroad Commissioners, 17 P.2d 82; Willis vs. Buck, 263 P.l 982.
“The right of the citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus.” State vs. City of Spokane, 186 P. 864.
What is this Right of the Citizen which differs so “radically and obviously” from one who uses the highway as a place of business? Who better to enlighten us than Justice Tolman of the Supreme Court of Washington State? In State vs. City of Spokane, supra, the Court also noted a very “radical and obvious” difference, but went on to explain just what the difference is:
“The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a common right to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary.”
“This distinction, elementary and fundamental in character, is recognized by all the authorities.” State vs. City of Spokane, supra.
This position does not hang precariously upon only a few cases, but has been proclaimed by an impressive array of cases ranging from the state courts to the federal courts.
“the right of the Citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business and uses it for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus. The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a right common to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary.” Ex Parte Dickey, (Dickey vs. Davis), 85 SE 781.
“The right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, is a common right which he has under the right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right, in so doing, to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day, and under the existing modes of travel, includes the right to drive a horse drawn carriage or wagon thereon or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purpose of life and business.” Teche Lines vs. Danforth, Miss., 12 S.2d 784; Thompson vs. Smith, supra.
There is no dissent among various authorities as to this position. (See Am.Jur. [1st] Const. Law, 329 and corresponding Am. Jur. [2nd].)
“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 nor dependent on the U.S. Constitution… It is one of the most sacred and valuable rights [remember the words of Justice Tolman, supra.] as sacred as the right to private property…and is regarded as inalienable.” 16 C.J.S. Const. Law, Sect.202, p.987.
As we can see, the distinction between a “Right” to use the public roads and a “privilege” to use the public roads is drawn upon the line of “using the road as a place of business” and the various state courts have held so. But what have the U.S. courts held on this point?
“First, it is well established law that the highways of the state are public property, and their primary and preferred use is for private purposes, and that their use for purposes of gain is special and extraordinary which, generally at least, the legislature may prohibit or condition as it sees fit.” Stephenson vs. Rinford, 287 US 251; Pachard vs Banton, 264 US 140, and cases cited; Frost and F. Trucking Co. vs. Railroad Commission, 271 US 592; Railroad commission vs. Inter-City Forwarding Co., 57 SW.2d 290; Parlett Cooperative vs. Tidewater Lines, 164 A. 313.
So what is a privilege to use the roads? By now it should be apparent even to the “learned” that an attempt to use the road as a place of business is a privilege. The distinction must be drawn between…
1. Travelling upon and transporting one’s property upon the public roads, which is our Right; and…
2. Using the public roads as a place of business or a main instrumentality of business, which is a privilege.
“[The roads]…are constructed and maintained at public expense, and no person therefore, can insist that he has, or may acquire, a vested right to their use in carrying on a commercial business.” Ex Parte Sterling, 53 SW.2d 294; Barney vs. Railroad Commissioners, 17 P.2d 82; Stephenson vs. Binford, supra.
“When the public highways are made the place of business the state has a right to regulate their use in the interest of safety and convenience of the public as well as the preservation of the highways.” Barney vs. Railroad Commissioners, supra.
“[The state’s] right to regulate such use is based upon the nature of the business and the use of the highways in connection therewith.” Ibid.
“We know of no inherent right in one to use the highways for commercial purposes. The highways are primarily for the use of the public, and in the interest of the public, the state may prohibit or regulate…the use of the highways for gain.” Robertson vs. Dept. of Public Works, supra.
There should be considerable authority on a subject as important a this deprivation of the liberty of the individual “using the roads in the ordinary course of life and business.” However, it should be noted that extensive research has not turned up one case or authority acknowledging the state’s power to convert the individual’s right to travel upon the public roads into a “privilege.”
Therefore, it is concluded that the Citizen does have a “Right” to travel and transport his property upon the public highways and roads and the exercise of this Right is not a “privilege.”
In order to understand the correct application of the statute in question, we must first define the terms used in connection with this point of law. As will be shown, many terms used today do not, in their legal context, mean what we assume they mean, thus resulting in the misapplication of statutes in the instant case.
AUTOMOBILE AND MOTOR VEHICLE
There is a clear distinction between an automobile and a motor vehicle. An automobile has been defined as:
“The word `automobile’ connotes a pleasure vehicle designed for the transportation of persons on highways.” American Mutual Liability Ins. Co., vs. Chaput, 60 A.2d 118, 120; 95 NH 200.
While the distinction is made clear between the two as the courts have stated:
“A motor vehicle or automobile for hire is a motor vehicle, other than an automobile stage, used for the transportation of persons for which remuneration is received.” International Motor Transit Co. vs. Seattle, 251 P. 120.
The term `motor vehicle’ is different and broader than the word `automobile.'” City of Dayton vs. DeBrosse, 23 NE.2d 647, 650; 62 Ohio App. 232.
The distinction is made very clear in Title 18 USC 31: “Motor vehicle” means every description or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, or passengers and property.
“Used for commercial purposes” means the carriage of persons or property for any fare, fee, rate, charge or other considerations, or directly or indirectly in connection with any business, or other undertaking intended for profit.
Clearly, an automobile is private property in use for private purposes, while a motor vehicle is a machine which may be used upon the highways for trade, commerce, or hire.
The term “travel” is a significant term and is defined as:
“The term `travel’ and `traveler’ are usually construed in their broad and general sense…so as to include all those who rightfully use the highways viatically (when being reimbursed for expenses) and who have occasion to pass over them for the purpose of business, convenience, or pleasure.” [emphasis added] 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways, Sect.427, p.717.
“Traveler — One who passes from place to place, whether for pleasure, instruction, business, or health.” Locket vs. State, 47 Ala. 45; Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 3309.
“Travel — To journey or to pass through or over; as a country district, road, etc. To go from one place to another, whether on foot, or horseback, or in any conveyance as a train, an automobile, carriage, ship, or aircraft; Make a journey.” Century Dictionary, p.2034.
Therefore, the term “travel” or “traveler” refers to one who uses a conveyance to go from one place to another, and included all those who use the highways as a matter of Right.
Notice that in all these definitions the phrase “for hire” never occurs. This term “travel” or “traveler” implies, by definition, one who uses the road as a means to move from one place to another.
Therefore, one who uses the road in the ordinary course of life and business for the purpose of travel and transportation is a traveler.
The term “driver” in contradistinction to “traveler,”: is defined as:
“Driver — One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle…” Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 940.
Notice that this definition includes one who is “employed” in conducting a vehicle. It should be self-evident that this person could not be “travelling” on a journey, but is using the road as a place of business.
Today we assume that a “traveler” is a “driver,” and a “driver” is an “operator.” However, this is not the case.
“It will be observed from the language of the ordinance that a distinction is to be drawn between the terms `operator’ and `driver’; the `operator’ of the service car being the person who is licensed to have the car on the streets in the business of carrying passengers for hire; while the `driver’ is the one who actually drives the car. However, in the actual prosecution of business, it was possible for the same person to be both `operator’ and `driver.'” Newbill vs. Union Indemnity Co., 60 SE.2d 658.
To further clarify the definition of an “operator” the court observed that this was a vehicle “for hire” and that it was in the business of carrying passengers.
This definition would seem to describe a person who is using the road as a place of business, or in other words, a person engaged in the “privilege” of using the road for gain.
This definition, then, is a further clarification of the distinction mentioned earlier, and therefore:
1. Travelling upon and transporting one’s property upon the public roads as a matter of Right meets the definition of a traveler.
2. Using the road as a place of business as a matter of privilege meets the definition of a driver or an operator or both.
Having defined the terms “automobile,” “motor vehicle,” “traveler,” “driver,” and “operator,” the next term to define is “traffic”:
“…Traffic thereon is to some extent destructive, therefore, the prevention of unnecessary duplication of auto transportation service will lengthen the life of the highways or reduce the cost of maintenance, the revenue derived by the state…will also tend toward the public welfare by producing at the expense of those operating for private gain, some small part of the cost of repairing the wear…” Northern Pacific R.R. Co. vs. Schoenfeldt, 213 P. 26.
Note: In the above, Justice Tolman expounded upon the key of raising revenue by taxing the “privilege” to use the public roads “at the expense of those operating for gain.”
In this case, the word “traffic” is used in conjunction with the unnecessary Auto Transportation Service, or in other words, “vehicles for hire.” The word “traffic” is another word which is to be strictly construed to the conducting of business.
“Traffic — Commerce, trade, sale or exchange of merchandise, bills, money, or the like. The passing of goods and commodities from one person to another for an equivalent in goods or money…” Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., p. 3307.
Here again, notice that this definition refers to one “conducting business.” No mention is made of one who is travelling in his automobile. This definition is of one who is engaged in the passing of a commodity or goods in exchange for money, i.e.., vehicles for hire.
Furthermore, the word “traffic” and “travel” must have different meanings which the courts recognize. The difference is recognized in Ex Parte Dickey, supra:
“…in addition to this, cabs, hackney coaches, omnibuses, taxicabs, and hacks, when unnecessarily numerous, interfere with the ordinary traffic and travel and obstruct them.”
The court, by using both terms, signified its recognition of a distinction between the two. But, what was the distinction? We have already defined both terms, but to clear up any doubt:
“The word `traffic’ is manifestly used here in secondary sense, and has reference to the business of transportation rather than to its primary meaning of interchange of commodities.” Allen vs. City of Bellingham, 163 P. 18.
Here the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has defined the word “traffic” (in either its primary or secondary sense) in reference to business, and not to mere travel! So it is clear that the term “traffic” is business related and therefore, it is a “privilege.” The net result being that “traffic” is brought under the (police) power of the legislature. The term has no application to one who is not using the roads as a place of business.
It seems only proper to define the word “license,” as the definition of this word will be extremely important in understanding the statutes as they are properly applied:
“The permission, by competent authority to do an act which without permission, would be illegal, a trespass, or a tort.” People vs. Henderson, 218 NW.2d 2, 4.
“Leave to do a thing which licensor could prevent.” Western Electric Co. vs. Pacent Reproducer Corp., 42 F.2d 116, 118.
In order for these two definitions to apply in this case, the state would have to take up the position that the exercise of a Constitutional Right to use the public roads in the ordinary course of life and business is illegal, a trespass, or a tort, which the state could then regulate or prevent.
This position, however, would raise magnitudinous Constitutional questions as this position would be diametrically opposed to fundamental Constitutional Law. (See “Conversion of a Right to a Crime,” infra.)
In the instant case, the proper definition of a “license” is:
“a permit, granted by an appropriate governmental body, generally for consideration, to a person, firm, or corporation, to pursue some occupation or to carry on some business which is subject to regulation under the police power.” [emphasis added] Rosenblatt vs. California State Board of Pharmacy, 158 P.2d 199, 203.
This definition would fall more in line with the “privilege” of carrying on business on the streets.
Most people tend to think that “licensing” is imposed by the state for the purpose of raising revenue, yet there may well be more subtle reasons contemplated; for when one seeks permission from someone to do something he invokes the jurisdiction of the “licensor” which, in this case, is the state. In essence, the licensee may well be seeking to be regulated by the “licensor.”
“A license fee is a charge made primarily for regulation, with the fee to cover costs and expenses of supervision or regulation.” State vs. Jackson, 60 Wisc.2d 700; 211 NW.2d 480, 487.
The fee is the price; the regulation or control of the licensee is the real aim of the legislation.
Are these licenses really used to fund legitimate government, or are they nothing more than a subtle introduction of police power into every facet of our lives? Have our “enforcement agencies” been diverted from crime prevention, perhaps through no fault of their own, instead now busying themselves as they “check” our papers to see that all are properly endorsed by the state?
How much longer will it be before we are forced to get a license for our lawn mowers, or before our wives will need a license for her “blender” or “mixer?” They all have motors on them and the state can always use the revenue.
The confusion of the police power with the power of taxation usually arises in cases where the police power has affixed a penalty to a certain act, or where it requires licenses to be obtained and a certain sum be paid for certain occupations. The power used in the instant case cannot, however, be the power of taxation since an attempt to levy a tax upon a Right would be open to Constitutional objection. (See “taxing power,” infra.)
Each law relating to the use of police power must ask three questions:
“1. Is there threatened danger?
2. Does a regulation involve a Constitutional Right?
3. Is this regulation reasonable?” People vs. Smith, 108 Am.St.Rep. 715; Bovier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., under “Police Power.”
When applying these three questions to the statute in question, some very important issues emerge.
First, “is there a threatened danger” in the individual using his automobile on the public highways, in the ordinary course of life and business?
The answer is No! There is nothing inherently dangerous in the use of an automobile when it is carefully managed. Their guidance, speed, and noise are subject to a quick and easy control, under a competent and considerate manager, it is as harmless on the road as a horse and buggy.
It is the manner of managing the automobile, and that alone, which threatens the safety of the public. The ability to stop quickly and to respond quickly to guidance would seem to make the automobile one of the least dangerous conveyances. (See Yale Law Journal, December, 1905.)
“The automobile is not inherently dangerous.” Cohens vs. Meadow, 89 SE 876; Blair vs. Broadmore, 93 SE 532.
To deprive all persons of the Right to use the road in the ordinary course of life and business, because one might, in the future, become dangerous, would be a deprivation not only of the Right to travel, but also the Right to due process. (See “Due Process,” infra.)
Next, does the regulation involve a Constitutional Right?
This question has already been addressed and answered in this brief, and need not be reinforced other than to remind this Court that this Citizen does have the Right to travel upon the public highway by automobile in the ordinary course of life and business. It can therefore be concluded that this regulation does involve a Constitutional Right.
The third question is the most important in this case. “Is this regulation reasonable?”
The answer is No! It will be shown later in “Regulation,” infra., that this licensing statute is oppressive and could be effectively administered by less oppressive means.
Although the Fourteenth Amendment does not interfere with the proper exercise of the police power, in accordance with the general principle that the power must be exercised so as not to invade unreasonably the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, it is established beyond question that every state power, including the police power, is limited by the Fourteenth Amendment (and others) and by the inhibitions there imposed.
Moreover, the ultimate test of the propriety of police power regulations must be found in the Fourteenth Amendment, since it operates to limit the field of the police power to the extent of preventing the enforcement of statutes in denial of Rights that the Amendment protects. (See Parks vs. State, 64 NE 682.)
“With regard particularly to the U.S. Constitution, it is elementary that a Right secured or protected by that document cannot be overthrown or impaired by any state police authority.” Connolly vs. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 US 540; Lafarier vs. Grand Trunk R.R. Co., 24 A. 848; O’Neil vs. Providence Amusement Co., 108 A. 887.
“The police power of the state must be exercised in subordination to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.” [emphasis added] Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. vs. State Highway Commission, 294 US 613; Bacahanan vs. Wanley, 245 US 60.
“It is well settled that the Constitutional Rights protected from invasion by the police power, include Rights safeguarded both by express and implied prohibitions in the Constitutions.” Tiche vs. Osborne, 131 A. 60.
“As a rule, fundamental limitations of regulations under the police power are found in the spirit of the Constitutions, not in the letter, although they are just as efficient as if expressed in the clearest language.” Mehlos vs. Milwaukee, 146 NW 882.
As it applies in the instant case, the language of the Fifth Amendment is clear:
No person shall be…deprived of Life, Liberty, or Property without due process of law.
As has been shown, the courts at all levels have firmly established an absolute Right to travel.
In the instant case, the state, by applying commercial statutes to all entities, natural and artificial persons alike, has deprived this free and natural person of the Right of Liberty, without cause and without due process of law.
“The essential elements of due process of law are…Notice and The Opportunity to defend.” Simon vs. Craft, 182 US 427.
Yet, not one individual has been given notice of the loss of his/her Right, let alone before signing the license (contract). Nor was the Citizen given any opportunity to defend against the loss of his/her right to travel, by automobile, on the highways, in the ordinary course of life and business. This amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of Liberty.
“There should be no arbitrary deprivation of Life or Liberty…” Barbour vs. Connolly, 113 US 27, 31; Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 118 US 356.
“The right to travel is part of the Liberty of which a citizen cannot deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. This Right was emerging as early as the Magna Carta.” Kent vs. Dulles, 357 US 116 (1958).
The focal point of this question of police power and due process must balance upon the point of making the public highways a safe place for the public to travel. If a man travels in a manner that creates actual damage, an action would lie (civilly) for recovery of damages. The state could then also proceed against the individual to deprive him of his Right to use the public highways, for cause. This process would fulfill the due process requirements of the Fifth Amendment while at the same time insuring that Rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the state constitutions would be protected.
But unless or until harm or damage (a crime) is committed, there is no cause for interference in the private affairs or actions of a Citizen.
One of the most famous and perhaps the most quoted definitions of due process of law, is that of Daniel Webster in his Dartmouth College Case (4 Wheat 518), in which he declared that by due process is meant “a law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial.” (See also State vs. Strasburg, 110 P. 1020; Dennis vs. Moses, 52 P. 333.)
Somewhat similar is the statement that is a rule as old as the law that “no one shall be personally bound (restricted) until he has had his day in court,” by which is meant, until he has been duly cited to appear and has been afforded an opportunity to be heard. Judgment without such citation and opportunity lacks all the attributes of a judicial determination; it is judicial usurpation and it is oppressive and can never be upheld where it is fairly administered. (12 Am.Jur. [1st] Const. Law, Sect.573, p.269.)
Note: This sounds like the process used to deprive one of the “privilege” of operating a motor vehicle “for hire.” It should be kept in mind, however, that we are discussing the arbitrary deprivation of the Right to use the road that all citizens have “in common.”
The futility of the state’s position can be most easily observed in the 1959 Washington Attorney General’s opinion on a similar issue:
“The distinction between the Right of the Citizen to use the public highways for private, rather than commercial purposes is recognized…”
“Under its power to regulate private uses of our highways, our legislature has required that motor vehicle operators be licensed (I.C. 49-307). Undoubtedly, the primary purpose of this requirement is to insure, as far as possible, that all motor vehicle operators will be competent and qualified, thereby reducing the potential hazard or risk of harm, to which other users of the highways might otherwise be subject. But once having complied with this regulatory provision, by obtaining the required license, a motorist enjoys the privilege of travelling freely upon the highways…” Washington A.G.O. 59-60 No. 88, p. 11.
This alarming opinion appears to be saying that every person using an automobile as a matter of Right, must give up the Right and convert the Right into a privilege. This is accomplished under the guise of regulation. This statement is indicative of the insensitivity, even the ignorance, of the government to the limits placed upon governments by and through the several constitutions.
This legal theory may have been able to stand in 1959; however, as of 1966, in the United States Supreme Court decision in Miranda, even this weak defense of the state’s actions must fall.
“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.
Thus the legislature does not have the power to abrogate the Citizen’s Right to travel upon the public roads, by passing legislation forcing the citizen to waive his Right and convert that Right into a privilege. Furthermore, we have previously established that this “privilege” has been defined as applying only to those who are “conducting business in the streets” or “operating for-hire vehicles.”
The legislature has attempted, by legislative fiat, to deprive the Citizen of his Right to use the roads in the ordinary course of life and business, without affording the Citizen the safeguard of “due process of law.” This has been accomplished under supposed powers of regulation.
“In addition to the requirement that regulations governing the use of the highways must not be violative of constitutional guarantees, the prime essentials of such regulation are reasonableness, impartiality, and definiteness or certainty.” 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways, Sect.260.
“Moreover, a distinction must be observed between the regulation of an activity which may be engaged in as a matter of right and one carried on by government sufferance of permission.” Davis vs. Massachusetts, 167 US 43; Pachard vs. Banton, supra.
One can say for certain that these regulations are impartial since they are being applied to all, even though they are clearly beyond the limits of the legislative powers. However, we must consider whether such regulations are reasonable and non-violative of constitutional guarantees.
First, let us consider the reasonableness of this statute requiring all persons to be licensed (presuming that we are applying this statute to all persons using the public roads). In determining the reasonableness of the statute we need only ask two questions:
1. Does the statute accomplish its stated goal?
The answer is No!
The attempted explanation for this regulation “to insure the safety of the public by insuring, as much as possible, that all are competent and qualified.”
However, one can keep his license without retesting, from the time he/she is first licensed until the day he/she dies, without regard to the competency of the person, by merely renewing said license before it expires. It is therefore possible to completely skirt the goal of this attempted regulation, thus proving that this regulation does not accomplish its goal.
Furthermore, by testing and licensing, the state gives the appearance of underwriting the competence of the licensees, and could therefore be held liable for failures, accidents, etc. caused by licensees.
2. Is the statute reasonable?
The answer is No!
This statute cannot be determined to be reasonable since it requires to the Citizen to give up his or her natural Right to travel unrestricted in order to accept the privilege. The purported goal of this statute could be met by much less oppressive regulations, i.e., competency tests and certificates of competency before using an automobile upon the public roads. (This is exactly the situation in the aviation sector.)
But isn’t this what we have now?
The answer is No! The real purpose of this license is much more insidious. When one signs the license, he/she gives up his/her Constitutional Right to travel in order to accept and exercise a privilege. After signing the license, a quasi-contract, the Citizen has to give the state his/her consent to be prosecuted for constructive crimes and quasi-criminal actions where there is no harm done and no damaged property.
These prosecutions take place without affording the Citizen of their Constitutional Rights and guarantees such a the Right to a trial by jury of twelve persons and the Right to counsel, as well as the normal safeguards such as proof of intent and a corpus dilecti and a grand jury indictment. These unconstitutional prosecutions take place because the Citizen is exercising a privilege and has given his/her “implied consent” to legislative enactments designed to control interstate commerce, a regulatable enterprise under the police power of the state.
We must now conclude that the Citizen is forced to give up Constitutional guarantees of “Right” in order to exercise his state “privilege” to travel upon the public highways in the ordinary course of life and business.
SURRENDER OF RIGHTS
A Citizen cannot be forced to give up his/her Rights in the name of regulation.
“…the 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…” [emphasis added] Riley vs. Laeson, 142 So. 619; Stephenson vs. Binford, supra.
If one cannot be placed in a position of being forced to surrender Rights in order to exercise a privilege, how much more must this maxim of law, then, apply when one is simply exercising (putting into use) a Right?
“To be that statute which would deprive a Citizen of the rights of person or property, without a regular trial, according to the course and usage of the common law, would not be the law of the land.” Hoke vs. Henderson, 15 NC 15.
“We find it intolerable that one Constitutional Right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another.” Simons vs. United States, 390 US 389.
Since the state requires that one give up Rights in order to exercise the privilege of driving, the regulation cannot stand under the police power, due process, or regulation, but must be exposed as a statute which is oppressive and one which has been misapplied to deprive the Citizen of Rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the state constitutions.
“Any claim that this statute is a taxing statute would be immediately open to severe Constitutional objections. If it could be said that the state had the power to tax a Right, this would enable the state to destroy Rights guaranteed by the constitution through the use of oppressive taxation. The question herein, is one of the state taxing the Right to travel by the ordinary modes of the day, and whether this is a legislative object of the state taxation.
The views advanced herein are neither novel nor unsupported by authority. The question of taxing power of the states has been repeatedly considered by the Supreme Court. The Right of the state to impede or embarrass the Constitutional operation of the U.S. Government or the Rights which the Citizen holds under it, has been uniformly denied.” McCulloch vs. Maryland, 4 Wheat 316.
The power to tax is the power to destroy, and if the state is given the power to destroy Rights through taxation, the framers of the Constitution wrote that document in vain.
“…It may be said that a tax of one dollar for passing through the state cannot sensibly affect any function of government or deprive a Citizen of any valuable Right. But if a state can tax…a passenger of one dollar, it can tax him a thousand dollars.” Crandall vs. Nevada, 6 Wall 35, 46.
“If the Right of passing through a state by a Citizen of the United States is one guaranteed by the Constitution, it must be sacred from state taxation.” Ibid., p.47.
Therefore, the Right of travel must be kept sacred from all forms of state taxation and if this argument is used by the state as a defense of the enforcement of this statute, then this argument also must fail.
CONVERSION OF A RIGHT TO A CRIME
As previously demonstrated, the Citizen has the Right to travel and to transport his property upon the public highways in the ordinary course of life and business. However, if one exercises this Right to travel (without first giving up the Right and converting that Right into a privilege) the Citizen is by statute, guilty of a crime. This amounts to converting the exercise of a Constitutional Right into a crime.
Recall the Miller vs. U.S. and Snerer vs. Cullen quotes from p.5, and,
“The state cannot diminish Rights of the people.” Hurtado vs. California, 110 US 516.
“Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda, supra.
Indeed, the very purpose for creating the state under the limitations of the constitution was to protect the rights of the people from intrusion, particularly by the forces of government.
So we can see that any attempt by the legislature to make the act of using the public highways as a matter of Right into a crime, is void upon its face.
Any person who claims his Right to travel upon the highways, and so exercises that Right, cannot be tried for a crime of doing so. And yet, this Freeman stands before this court today to answer charges for the “crime” of exercising his Right to Liberty.
As we have already shown, the term “drive” can only apply to those who are employed in the business of transportation for hire. It has been shown that freedom includes the Citnzen’s Right to use the public highways in the ordinary course of life and business without license or regulation by the police powers of the state.
It is the duty of the court to recognize the substance of things and not the mere form.
“The courts are not bound by mere form, nor are they to be misled by mere pretenses. They are at liberty — indeed they are under a solemn duty — to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If, therefore, a statute purported to have been enacted to protect…the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects or is a palpable invasion of Rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution.” Mulger vs. Kansas, 123 US 623, 661.
“It is the duty of the courts to be watchful for the Constitutional rights of the citizen and against any stealthy encroachments thereon.” Boyd vs. United States, 116 US 616.
The courts are “duty bound” to recognize and stop the “stealthy encroachments” which have been made upon the Citizen’s Right to travel and to use the roads to transport his property in the “ordinary course of life and business.” (Hadfield, supra.)
Further, the court must recognize that the Right to travel is part of the Liberty of which a Citizen cannot be deprived without specific cause and without the “due process of law” guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment. (Kent, supra.)
The history of this “invasion” of the Citizen’s Right to use the public highways shows clearly that the legislature simply found a heretofore untapped source of revenue, got greedy, and attempted to enforce a statute in an unconstitutional manner upon those free and natural individuals who have a Right to travel upon the highways. This was not attempted in an outright action, but in a slow, meticulous, calculated encroachment upon the Citizen’s Right to travel.
This position must be accepted unless the prosecutor can show his authority for the position that the “use of the road in the ordinary course of life and business” is a privilege.
To rule in any other manner, without clear authority for an adverse ruling, will infringe upon fundamental and basic concepts of Constitutional law. This position, that a Right cannot be regulated under any guise, must be accepted without concern for the monetary loss of the state.
“Disobedience or evasion of a Constitutional Mandate cannot be tolerated, even though such disobedience may, at least temporarily, promote in some respects the best interests of the public.” Slote vs. Examination, 112 ALR 660.
“Economic necessity cannot justify a disregard of Constitutional guarantee.” Riley vs. Carter, 79 ALR 1018; 16 Am.Jur. (2nd), Const. Law, Sect.81.
“Constitutional Rights cannot be denied simply because of hostility to their assertions and exercise; vindication of conceded Constitutional Rights cannot be made dependent upon any theory that it is less expensive to deny them than to afford them.” Watson vs. Memphis, 375 US 526.
Therefore, the Court’s decision in the instant case must be made without the issue of cost to the state being taken into consideration, as that issue is irrelevant. The state cannot lose money that it never had a right to demand from the “Sovereign People.”
Finally, we come to the issue of “public policy.” It could be argued that the “licensing scheme” of all persons is a matter of “public policy.” However, if this argument is used, it too must fail, as:
“No public policy of a state can be allowed to override the positive guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.” 16 Am.Jur. (2nd), Const. Law, Sect.70.
So even “public policy” cannot abrogate this Citizen’s Right to travel and to use the public highways in the ordinary course of life and business.
Therefore, it must be concluded that:
“We have repeatedly held that the legislature may regulate the use of the highways for carrying on business for private gain and that such regulation is a valid exercise of the police power.” Northern Pacific R.R. Co., supra.
“The act in question is a valid regulation, and as such is binding upon all who use the highway for the purpose of private gain.” Ibid.
Any other construction of this statute would render it unconstitutional as applied to this Citizen or any Citizen. The Accused therefore moves this court to dismiss the charge against him, with prejudice.
Since no notice is given to people applying for driver’s (or other) licenses that they have a perfect right to use the roads without any permission, and that they surrender valuable rights by taking on the regulation system of licensure, the state has committed a massive construction fraud. This occurs when any person is told that they must have a license in order to use the public roads and highways.
The license, being a legal contract under which the state is empowered with policing powers is only valid when the licensee takes on the burdens of the contract and bargains away his or her rights knowingly, intentionally, and voluntarily.
Few know that the driver’s license is a contract without which the police are powerless to regulate the people’s actions or activities.
Few if any licensees intentionally surrender valuable rights. They are told that they must have the license. As we have seen, this is not the case.
No one in their right mind voluntarily surrenders complete liberty and accepts in its place a set of regulations.
“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Edmund Burke, 1784.
Common Law Court of Record
Portrait of Olde Tyme Judge
What is Sovereignty? You should know. You are one.
Sovereignty is the ownership of one’s own rights, and property. In that sense we are all sovereign in one capacity or another. Some have claimed more rights than others, yet we all are equal or so it would seem.
(Beware, there is only one sovereign, even he is the God who created man…..RP)
Common law is an age old traditional court that may actually even predate the feudal system of Europe. The Magna Carta gives much common law consideration. It has been used for centuries, and is still in use today. When the IRS attacks you, they are a tribunal in the common law sense issuing an order of the court of the IRS. It’s their court literally. I will explain how.
Back in the old days of the feudal system, a sovereign king (who is the highest authority of the land) would convene his court. The duties of the court took up too much of the king’s time from fox hunting so he would appoint someone to act as his fiduciary agent or what is known today as a prosecutor. If someone stole the king’s horse, the prosecutor would order (not ask) the magistrate of the court to issue a warrant to bring this lowly nave to face the court. The court would grant him a jury. The jury would decide the fate of the accused thief.
The rules of the court were decided by the tribunal/prosecutor, and all orders given including contempt. Not the magistrate. He was merely a recorder. Thus the name “Court of Record” came into being. You very rarely ever see this in modern court systems because it is assumed that the tribunal is the judge. All orders and rulings are decided by the judge, not the plaintiff’s lawyer. As you can imagine, the court or record was heavily slanted towards the plaintiff. Very few people got a fair trial. They could make the rules up as they go along as well. Hard to study a law that has not yet been written isn’t it?
In modern times elements of the court of record is used by the IRS, and by private citizens. I will post a link below of a series of audio files that explain in great detail the process in which a gentleman used the court of record in California. He had to fight the judge for tribunal jurisdiction, then the judge he appealed it to, then before it was over, he had four judges named as co-defendants for his constitutionally guaranteed by California right to do this.
You see statutory courts do not have a remedy for everything. In fact if someone hits you with their car, and their mandatory minimum insurance is not enough to cover your surmounting medical bills, there is no remedy, awe but there is! It’s called common law. In common law, most statutes do not apply. That means you can sue for the entire amount, regardless of the statutory insurance limit. It usually doesn’t cover punitive damages. You can’t get extra money just because they hurt your feelings. It has to be provable damage.
Every state has a court that can be a court of record. Where I live in Colorado it is the district courts. Your state will have some constitutional or statutory decision on where these courts are to be convened. Also, every commonwealth country has them as well. Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand all have common law conventions somewhere in their court system.
Judges don’t like giving up the tribunal to the plaintiff though. They will give you orders, yell, make threats, even use cheap tricks like “wipe that smile off your face!” If you pull the corners of your mouth down to speak, you obeyed an order, he just regained jurisdiction over you. It’s off to the slammer you go for contempt! I don’t know whether they are orders to keep the tribunal hat on at all costs by the higher courts, or it’s just because they have HUGE egos and cannot stand the thought of taking orders from a layman. It still seems strange they would go to such great lengths to block a lawful activity.
There are many left-wing freedom haters who claim sovereignty/common law is based on racism and class-ism. I’ll post a link down below that shows a black man using the same exact type of jurisdictional challenges that everyone else can use. The movement among black people in America I sometimes hear referred to as “Moors” like the Moorish doctrine of sovereignty. There is a history of feudal system courts in Morocco. It was under Portuguese, Spanish, and even French rule for a time. Many of those common court traditions lingered long after.
Now back to our favourite government agency, the IRS. When you get an order from them, they are giving you an order as a Sovereign court. If you obey it, you are their subject. When you do not, you must do so in writing, They will assume you have obeyed, because you did not object to their court ruling, and furthermore, they can seize your property without even so much as a hearing.They actually had a hearing. You weren’t invited though. The sovereign director of the IRS ordered his tribunal prosecutor to give you an order. It’s that simple. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people about the IRS. “It’s like the judge works FOR the prosecutor.” He does, Duh!!! The judge is only a magistrate. the tribunal (highest authority) in the room is the prosecutor. He orders the magistrate. Even experienced attorneys don’t see the true nature of the relationship in a court of record. One thing I know for sure is, if you can get a court of record on someone, you have a serious advantage. If someone gets this over you, I’m pretty sure you’re screwed unless you have a good knowledge of common law, or find a lawyer that studies this discipline. Not many of them do.
I’ve seen interviews of jury members in IRS court. They don’t understand it either. Nobody told them the true nature of the court. The prosecutor never told them, the magistrate couldn’t. He did not receive tribunal orders to do so. They kept repeatedly asking the judge “Show us the law that says this man must pay taxes.” The magistrate could only reply “You have everything you need.” The law was written the day the IRS sent him the letter saying “You must pay your taxes.” They wrote common law.
I wrote common law the other day. My mother in law wanted to take my child on a trip. We wrote an agreement that states. “(mother-in-law’s name here) has the authority to take my child, out of state (on these days) and make medical decisions for her.” A notary public witnessed the signing, and stamped a seal on it. It is law. No cop, judge, or doctor can rule over that unless they claim that someone else’s individual rights are violated theoretically. You can write you’re own law, and it can say whatever you want, as long as it does not overlap someone else’s law. Then you could be in big trouble when you try to enforce your law.
I once heard a saying “Swing your fist in any direction as long as it is well clear of anyone else’s nose.
Common law, also called Anglo-American law, the body of customary law, based upon judicial decisions and embodied in reports of decided cases, that has been administered by the common-law courts of England since the Middle Ages. From it has evolved the type of legal system now found also in the United States and in most of the member states of the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth of Nations).In this sense common law stands in contrast to the legal system derived from civil law, now widespread in continental Europe and elsewhere. In another, narrower, sense, common law is contrasted to the rules applied in English and American courts of equity and also to statute law.(Roman Civil and criminal law, are sham courts to fleece the sheep..Rob the people, theft and fraud and extortion…RP)
A standing expository difficulty is that, whereas the United Kingdom is a unitary state in international law, it comprises three major (and other minor) legal systems, those of England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Historically, the common-law system in England (applied to Wales since 1536) has directly influenced that in Ireland but only partially influenced the distinct legal system in Scotland, which is therefore, except as regards international matters, not covered in this article. The legal systems in the United Kingdom have, since 1973, experienced integration into the system of European Union law, which has direct effects upon the domestic law of its constituent states—the majority of which have domestic systems that have been influenced by the civil-law tradition and that cultivate a more purposive technique of legislative interpretation than has been customary in the English common law. The regime ofhuman rights represented by the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) has exercised a similar influence in the United Kingdom since the passage by Parliamentof the Human Rights Act 1998.
The English common law originated in the early Middle Ages in the King’s Court (Curia Regis), a single royal court set up for most of the country at Westminster, near London. Like many other early legal systems, it did not originally consist of substantive rights but rather of procedural remedies. The working out of these remedies has, over time, produced the modern system in which rights are seen as primary over procedure. Until the late 19th century, English common law continued to be developed primarily by judges rather than legislators.The common law of England was largely created in the period after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Anglo-Saxons, especially after the accession of Alfred the Great (871), had developed a body of rules resembling those being used by the Germanic peoples of northern Europe. Local customs governed most matters, while the church played a large part in government. Crimes were treated as wrongs for which compensation was made to the victim.The Norman Conquest did not bring an immediate end to Anglo-Saxon law, but a period of colonial rule by the mainly Norman conquerors produced change. Land was allocated to feudal vassals of the king, many of whom had joined the conquest with this reward in mind. Serious wrongs were regarded mainly as public crimes rather than as personal matters, and the perpetrators were punished by death and forfeiture of property. The requirement that, in cases of sudden death, the local community should identify the body as English (“presentment of Englishry”)—and, therefore, of little account—or face heavy fines reveals a state of unrest between the Norman conquerors and their English subjects. Government was centralized, a bureaucracy built up, and written records maintained. Controversy exists regarding the extent to which the efficient government of the Anglo-Norman realm was due to the legacy of Anglo-Saxon institutions or to the ruthlessness of the Norman invaders. Elements of the Anglo-Saxon system that survived were the jury, ordeals (trials by physical test or combat), the practice of outlawry (putting a person beyond the protection of the law), and writs (orders requiring a person to appear before a court;see below The development of a centralized judiciary). Important consolidation occurred during the reign of Henry II (1154–89). Royal officials roamed the country, inquiring about the administration of justice. Church and state were separate and had their own law and court systems. This led to centuries of rivalry over jurisdiction, especially since appeals from church courts, before the Reformation, could be taken to Rome.
The Normans spoke French and had developed a customary law in Normandy. They had no professional lawyers or judges; instead, literate clergymen acted as administrators. Some of the clergy were familiar with Roman law and the canon law of the Christian church, which was developed in the universities of the 12th century. Canon law was applied in the English church courts, but the revived Roman law was less influential in England than elsewhere, despite Norman dominance in government. This was due largely to the early sophistication of the Anglo-Norman system. Norman custom was not simply transplanted to England; upon its arrival, a new body of rules, based on local conditions, emerged.
The development of common law in the United States and other jurisdictions
The first English settlers on the Atlantic Seaboard of North America brought with them only elementary notions of law. Colonial charters conferred upon them the traditional legal privileges of Englishmen, such as habeas corpus and the right to trial before a jury of one’s peers. However, there were few judges, lawyers, or lawbooks, and English court decisions were slow to reach them. Each colony passed its own statutes, and governors or legislative bodies acted as courts. Civil and criminal cases were tried in the same courts, and lay juries enjoyed wide powers. English laws passed after the date of settlement did not automatically apply in the colonies, and even presettlement legislation was liable to adaptation. English cases were not binding precedents. Several of the American colonies introduced substantial legal codes, such as those of Massachusetts in 1648 and of Pennsylvania in 1682.
By the late 17th century, lawyers were practicing in the colonies, using English lawbooks and following English procedures and forms of action. In 1701 Rhode Island legislated to receive English law in full, subject to local legislation, and the same happened in the Carolinas in 1712 and 1715. Other colonies, in practice, also applied the common law with local variations.
Many legal battles in the period leading up to the American Revolution (1775–83) were fought on common-law principles, and half of the signatories of theDeclaration of Independence were lawyers. The Constitution of the United States itself uses traditional English legal terms.
After 1776 anti-British feelings led some Americans to advocate a fresh legal system, but European laws were diverse, couched in foreign languages having unfamiliar turns of thought, and unavailable in textbook form. Blackstone’s Commentaries, reprinted in America in 1771, was widely used, even though new English statutes and decisions were officially ignored.
In the 1830s two great judges, James Kent of New Yorkand Joseph Story of Massachusetts, produced important commentaries on common law and equity, emphasizing the need for legal certainty and for security of title to property. These works followed the common-law tradition, which has been fundamental in the United States except in Louisiana, where Frenchcivil law has survived.
The common law was also adopted in other areas settled by the British. In Australia, New Zealand, British Canada, and many colonies in Africa, the common law was applied without any rival. But elsewhere, notably in India, South Africa, and Quebec, allowance had to be made for existing legal systems. In the 19th century there were notable experiments in India with codifying the common law. Until the 20th century there was little independence in the legal systems of the Commonwealth; the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, sitting in London, acted as the supreme court of appeal for all overseas jurisdictions. More recently, as a result of political independence, Commonwealth countries have rejected the jurisdiction of the Privy Council, with the consequence that significant differences have developed between jurisdictions even in areas of traditional common law.
The American states viewed law as a cementing force and used it to facilitate cooperation in the face of the hazards of nature and other difficulties arising in the development of the new continent. Special laws were developed to deal with timber, water, and mineral rights. Simple procedures were followed. Dogma was rejected in favour of personal experience and experiment, and old decisions soon became outdated. The pioneer spirit favoured freedom and initiative and distrusted central authority and a paternal government. Homespun local justice was preferred, as was the common sense of the local jury. For a time, some of the colonies even tried to base their law on the Bible. But, even when English law reasserted itself, many of its institutions were rejected. Upon death intestate, for example, all of the children inherited land and not just, as in England, the eldest son. Freehold title was the rule, not long leases under landlords. Church courts did not exist.
After the American Revolution, a drive to replace judge-made law with popular legislation was revived. In 1811 Jeremy Bentham proposed a national civil code to Pres. James Madison, but his proposal was premature. In the mid-19th century, the legal reformer David Dudley Field presided over the drafting of several codes and campaigned vigorously for the systematic, rational codification of United States law. Except for a code of civil procedure, which was widely copied, Field’s codes found little acceptance in state legislatures. Field’s civil code was adopted by five states, including California and New York, but the common-law tradition was so strong in these jurisdictions that the civil code became just another statute. It was read against the background of—and supplemented by— existing case law, rather than being seen as a complete set of authoritative starting points for legal reasoning, as were the Continental civil codes. Louisiana, whose legal system is a hybrid of civil- and common-law elements, is the only American state that has a code in the civil-law sense. Despite the failure of the codification movement, U.S. law became increasingly statutory, so that by the late 20th century legislation predominated over judge-made law.
U.S. statutes are not construed so narrowly as those in England, and there is less reluctance to change the older law. Statutes are also regularly revised; for example, New York state has had a Law Revision Commission since 1934.
Personal and property rights
The guarantees of due process of law given in Magna Carta in 1215 and the BritishBill of Rights of 1689 are reflected in the first 10 amendments to the federal Constitution, which were passed in 1791 and are known as the Bill of Rights. Since the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, the rights of life, liberty, and property have been protected from deprivation by both the states and the federal government without due process of law; this has tended to shield private property from government regulation and private contracts from government interference. (It should be remembered, however, that even after the abolition of slavery following the American Civil War and despite these constitutional safeguards, black men did not have equal rights with white men, and women had far fewer legal rights than men.) The use of property, however, is increasingly restricted by zoning laws and health and safety measures, and the acquisition of property for public purposes may be justified under the doctrine of eminent domain (the power of the government to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent upon payment of compensation).
Since the late 1930s, the power of the Congress to regulate the economy under its authority to oversee interstate commerce has generally been upheld by the Supreme Court. State legislation is, as a rule, also held to be constitutional in this area.Minimum-wage laws and the right to collective bargaining in industry are recognized as well.
Since the 1950s, the emphasis in constitutionality cases has shifted to human rights. The requirement of equal protection of the laws and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 led to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) thatracial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional and to later rulings against using public funds for segregated private schools. The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies not only to official laws and actions but also to the conduct of private citizens. Thus, no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin is allowed in places of public entertainment or resort or in employment practices by larger firms.
Since 1962 the Supreme Court has insisted on a regular redrawing of electoral districts to give each vote roughly the same value (seat reapportionment; seeBaker v.Carr). It has also interpreted the constitutional prohibition of the establishment of a state religion to render school prayer and religious instruction illegal. In 1971 freedom of the press was held to justify The New York Times newspaper in publishing articles based on the so-called Pentagon Papers, a classified history of U.S. military involvement in Indochina.
Tort law (i.e., the law relating to private civil wrongs) is largely common law, as opposed to statute-based law, in England, Canada, and the United States. Several major reforms have been introduced along the same lines in different countries. Allowing claims by dependents of persons tortuously killed and removing the immunity of the crown or government or charitable institutions from tort claims provide examples. The liability of manufacturers to the ultimate consumer was first laid down by U.S. and then by English judges. After a slow start (compared with Europe), the protection of employees proceeded apace in the United States in the second half of the 20th century so as to cover almost any accident occasioned in the workplace, however unrelated to the employer’s business or fault. According to some legal scholars, the U.S. system of tort liability had become, in effect, a general substitute for a welfare system. In the wider world also, the growth of insurance subtly affected tort law by shifting liability to those most able to pay for coverage. A further move—which threatens to undermine the viability of the whole tort system—is the growth of what some perceive as a “compensation culture,” in which individuals feel entitled to sue for any of a wide variety of alleged harms.In the field of libel, U.S. practice is less strict than the English. In the United States a public figure cannot sue for honest but unfair and untrue criticisms of his activities, whereas in England published facts must be true and comments fair. In some Australian states truth is not necessarily a defense to an action.A notable U.S. tort is interference with privacy. Examples include a stranger’s using one’s photograph for advertising without permission, using “bugging” (i.e., electronic eavesdropping devices) in one’s home or searching it, or taking photographs of persons in embarrassing situations. In England privacy is still seen as related to commercial considerations; it is possible to buy privacy but not to enjoy it as a right.
Contract law is basically similar in the common-law countries. The most interesting difference relates to the question of enforcement of contracts by third parties who are not actually parties to the contract but are persons for whose benefit the contract was made. English law excludes such rights, except in an occasional statute. The Indian Contract Code of 1872 generally allows it, as does U.S. state law. In all countries, legislation now protects consumers against the power of large commercial corporations and regulates the operation of credit transactions.
English law has largely repealed the laws requiring written evidence of ordinary contracts, sometimes to the surprise of consumers. Written evidence is often called for in the United States.
The various areas of special contracts, such as those applying to employment, sale of land, and agency, are broadly similar everywhere but are regulated by local legislation and by a wealth of labour legislation.
In regard to criminal law, the substance of the law is much the same throughout the common-law countries. In both the United Kingdom and the United States, the 20th century can be largely characterized as a period during which it was thought that undesirable behaviour could be eliminated by rigorous law enforcement. In the early part of the century, this led to the criminalization of much personal behaviour—including some sexual practices, gambling, and the use of alcohol and drugs—that was previously beyond the reach of the law, the most noteworthy example being theprohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States from 1919 to 1933. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were signs that some such behaviours were being treated as medical or psychological problems rather than as criminal ones.
The death penalty, which had been slowly removed in most U.S. states since the end of the 19th century, was revived during the 1970s after the Supreme Court ruled its use constitutional. Capital punishment was eliminated in the United Kingdom in 1965.
More important differences appear in the rules of criminal procedure. In England, this rests on modern legislation. Accused persons may now testify at the trial or not, as they wish; they are entitled to legal counsel; and they are assisted out of public funds when they are accused of serious crimes and are unable to afford to pay the costs themselves.
Canada has a Dominion Criminal Code, which covers major crimes. It also has a Canadian Bill of Rights and provincial laws, such as the Ontario Human Rights Code. India has an overriding Bill of Rights.
In the United States criminal procedure has become a constitutional matter, with a kind of federal common law of criminal procedure overriding state law in many instances. Thus, due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure confer wide protection on accused persons—too wide, some think, for public safety.
English courts are reluctant to admit recordings of private conversations unless supported by direct evidence of persons present, and this is generally the position taken in the United States, although emergency wiretapping and other electronic monitoring are permitted with the permission of a court or in some cases involving national security. English and U.S. law exclude confessions unless they are made freely and spontaneously. If evidence is found by unlawful means—such as by searching a house without a warrant—English law permits such evidence to be used, but U.S. law does not. The main difference between English and U.S. safeguards is that English protections rest on statute or case law and may be changed by ordinary statute, whereas U.S. safeguards are constitutional and cannot be relaxed unless the Supreme Court later reverses its interpretation or the Constitution is amended.
The future of the common law
In the past, the law performed the function of a referee in a free economy and was called in to apply generally accepted ideas of right and wrong to individual disputes. Today, law often forms an instrument of governmental policy or results from social pressures on the government. Law, therefore, is increasingly administrative.
Another tendency, and one that is likely to be reinforced, is an increasing reliance on statute law and codification as instruments of legal development. At one time the English Law Commission considered drafting a contract code, and the law of tort has been the subject of several statutes. When the United Kingdom entered the European Economic Community, it was thought that there might be pressures to make English law more accessible by codifying it along the lines of the continental model. Harmonization of the laws of the member states, however, has not thus far required this. The introduction of human rights as a basic element in the domestic law of the United Kingdom will undoubtedly bring about change, as will the growth of international tribunals. In the United States the legal sovereignty of the states impedes such a radical change, but uniform state laws are becoming more common.
In view of the general tendency in modern society of shielding the individual as fully as possible from the consequences of chance accidents, the judge-made law of tort may eventually be replaced, as it was for a time in New Zealand, by a comprehensive system of official or private insurance similar to the present compulsory third-party risk insurance available for motor vehicles. The New Zealand experience, however, suggests that this is an expensive alternative. Public law is also gaining on private law in other fields—in real-property development, for example, public zoning orurban planning rules are already more important than the traditional restrictions imposed by individual neighbouring landowners. Public-welfare laws on child care and adoption, pensions, and social security are often more important than the older private law based on the rights of spouses and children.
English and American law can still be recognized as partners sharing a common root in the common law before the 18th century. But they are increasingly diverging, and English law, with or without the European Union, now shows much more specific similarities to the law in other countries of continental Europe than would hitherto have been admitted.
Part 3, Restore the Common Law: