How do they do that?
by Jerre Kneip
That the people of the United States of America have the right to move about the country by whatever means of conveyance they choose, without interference by the government, has been long and well established by the courts from the Supreme Court on down. So, how is it that the State Legislatures can enact, and the counties and municipalities enforce, laws requiring Certificates of Title, Registration of automobiles, Licensing of "Drivers," compulsory liability insurance, and a myriad of other regulations and restrictions upon the people?
The answer is, "By carefully and cleverly crafting the law so that the people are led to believe that such laws
State courts and the Supreme Court of the United States have repeatedly held that "traveling" is a right. In the case City of San Antonio v. Fetzer, 241 SW 1034, the court held, "The streets of the cities of this country belong to the public. Primarily, every member of the public has a natural right to the free use of such streets in the normal pursuit of his private or personal business or pleasure.
... The right of the public at large to the free use of the streets is paramount to the natural right of the individual. ... The power of the city in exercising such control is limited only by the Constitution and general laws of the state, ... But neither the Legislature nor the city commissioners has the power to take away or unreasonably abridge, the natural rights of the citizen to the use of the streets in the manner and for the purpose we have set forth above."
In the cases Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 377 Ill. 200, 169 NE 22 ALR 834, Ligare v. Chicago, 139 Ill. 46, 28 NE 834 and Boone v. Clark, 214 SW 607; 25 Am Jur 1st Highways, Sec. 163 the courts said, "The use of the highway for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege but a common and fundamental right of which the public and individuals cannot rightfully be deprived."
In Thompson v. Smith, 157 SE 579, the court stated, "The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by a carriage or automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit or permit at will, but a common right which he has under the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
In Kent v. Dulles 357, U.S. 116, 125, the Supreme Court of the United States said, "The right to travel is part of the Liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment."
Again the Supreme Court, in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491 said, "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them."
Finally, (but certainly not exhaustively) the Supreme Court said in Miller v. U.S., 230 F 2nd 436, 489, "The claim and exercise of a Constitutional Right cannot be converted into a Crime."
The first clue is in the title "Transportation Code." The word "transportation" is defined by Blacks Law Dictionary, 5th Edition: "Transportation. The movement of goods or persons from one place to another by a carrier [for hire]." In keeping with this definition, the titles making up the Code are Title 1. General Provisions, Title 2. General Provisions Relating to Carriers, Title 3. Aviation, Title 4. Navigation, Title 5. Railroads, Title 6. Roadways and Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. As stated in the enactment clause, these titles make up "An act relating to the adoption of a not-substantive revision of status relating to transportation..." By legal definition, the act relates to the movement of goods and persons by carriers for hire.
The sections generally applied to the ordinary citizen who uses his automobile to travel for private business or pleasure are contained in Title 7. Vehicles and Traffic. Blacks Law (6th. Ed.) defines Vehicle: "Term refers to every device in, upon, or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway." Traffic is defined as "Commerce; Trade." So we know from the outset that Title 7 is dealing with "persons" and "vehicles" engaged in a commercial activity. This fact becomes more obvious as we delve further into the Code.
Other useful definitions from Blacks Law are: Carrier: "Individual or organization engaged in transporting passengers or goods for hire"; Passenger: "In general, a person who gives compensation to another for transportation."
Title 7 begins with Chapter 501. Certificate of Title Act. All of the rules relating to Certificate of Title are contained in this chapter. Section 501.002 provides a number of definitions. Of particular interest is subsection "(14) Motor vehicle means: (A) any motor driven or propelled vehicle required to be registered under the laws of this state." So now we know that if an automobile is not required to be registered it does not come under the definition of "motor vehicle" for purposes of this chapter on Certificate of Title.
Section 501.004. Applicability describes what this chapter applies to. Subsection (a) says, "This chapter applies to a motor vehicle owned by the state or a political subdivision of the state." Subsection (b) says that the chapter does not apply to farm trailers, auto accessories, vehicles owned by the United States, or cars on loan to a political subdivision (such as school districts) use for driver education. So, if your automobile is not owned by the state or a political subdivision of the state, then the chapter of Certificate of Title does not apply. So much for chapter 501.
Chapter 502 is entitled Registration of Vehicles. Section 502.001. Definitions says, "In this chapter:" then defines a number of terms. Note that these definitions apply to "this chapter" and in some cases are different from those in other chapters. Of particular interest are: "(2) 'Commercial motor vehicle' means a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, designed or use primarily to transport property. The term includes a passenger car reconstructed and used primarily for delivery purposes. The term does not include a passenger car used to deliver the United States mail.; (13) 'Motor vehicle' means a vehicle that is self-propelled [different from that in 501]; (17) 'Passenger car' means a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, golf cart, light truck, or bus, designed or used primarily for the transportation of persons; and (24) 'Vehicle' means a device in or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a public highway..."
The clincher comes in Section 502.152 Certificate of Title Required for Registration. Subsection (a) says, "The department may not register or renew the registration of a motor vehicle for which a certificate of title is required under Chapter 501 unless the owner; (1) obtains a certificate of title for the vehicle..." Since Chapter 501 applies only to vehicles owned by the state or political subdivisions of the state, only those are required to obtain a certificate of title. All others without certificate of title may not be registered. Of course, if you should voluntarily obtain a certificate of title, then you can register your automobile and the rest of the rules apply.
Chapter 521 relates to Drivers Licenses and Certificates. Now we get into a serious play on words. In chapter 501 we found that a "motor vehicle" is one required to be registered; in 502 it is a "vehicle" that is self-propelled; also in 502, vehicle means a device for transportation of persons or property. "Section 521.001 Definitions (a) In this chapter (6) "License" means an authorization to operate a motor vehicle that is issued under or granted by the laws of this state. The term includes: (A) a driver's license." The terms operate" and "motor vehicle" are not defined in chapter 521; however, subsection (b) says, "A word or phrase that is not defined by this chapter but is defined by Subtitle C has the meaning in this chapter that is assigned by that subtitle."
Subtitle C. Rules of the Road contains Chapter 541. Definitions. In section 541.001 Persons. In this subtitle (1) "Operator" means, as used in reference to a vehicle, a person who drives or has physical control of a vehicle. At Section 541.201. "Vehicles in this subtitle (11) "Motor vehicle" means a self propelled vehicle..." and (22) "Vehicle" means a device that can be used to transport or draw persons or property on a highway. Therefore, a driver's license is required of one who is engaged in the commercial activity of "operating" a "vehicle" for the purpose of transportation of goods or persons for hire.
Significantly, the terms "automobile" and "travel" are not mentioned in the Transportation Code precisely because they are not commercial terms and therefore are not subject to the code.
Now we come to the devious, down-right diabolical scheme employed by the Legislature, the law enforcement agencies of the Executive branch and the Judiciary to deceive the people into participation in their Transportation Code.
Under the Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 10, the right of the people to contract is protected. If the owner of an automobile to be used for private business or travel should voluntarily apply for a certificate of title and register the automobile as a "motor vehicle" then the law properly presumes that the owner's intent is to engage in transportation and the requirements of the Transportation Code apply.
Of course, the contract is invalid because it is not entered into willingly, knowingly and intentionally. In fact, if full disclosure of the terms and conditions of the contract were fully explained by the state and its agencies and agents, few would enter into the contract, thus depriving the state of that huge source of revenue, and incidentally, the control of the people's actions in their use of the public highways and streets.
Perhaps the reader may want to ask his State Representative and State Senator why full disclosure is not required when an automobile owner enters into a contract with the state by making application for certificate of title and then registering the automobile.
Republic of Texas Former Official website
Republic of Texas Former Official website