By David Tulis
I have a driver’s license. So do you. So why my interest in that user of the road who refuses to obtain a driver’s licenses from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security?
Why do I care about him and spill ink on his behalf? Because they are defenders of the free market and of the right of self-propulsion and the right to travel. The right to travel and the right of movement I lump together, though one appellate court ruling in Tennessee intends to separate them. The right of moving from Point A to Point B, either within the state or out, is a property right. I understand it as inhering to you as a citizen of a free state, that being Tennessee (despite 150 years of obscurantism of our rights under federal “supervision.”)
The defenders of the right to use the public road as a matter of right, and not by permission as a matter of privilege, interest me greatly and are an encouragement. Transportation is an area over which constitutionalists and so-called patriots have long fought.
A 1997 case in Tennessee says the right to travel is not the right of locomotion, that the two are distinct. The right to travel is constricted to relocating your home from one address to another, with the intention to reside. Middle Tennessee lawyer Stan Pierchoski says the Booher case by the court of appeals in Nashville is conclusive; my own doubts remain in having studied that decision.
The main argument of “free drivers” is that they are not in commerce and are exercising constitutional rights of innocent movement that injures no one and is not for profit. The main argument of the state is that the licensure apparatus is required because motoring affects the public health, safety and welfare. As it causes injury and death, it has to be regulated. Using a car is not free and not a right, but a privilege for which one must make application and pay fees. The apparatus operates under police powers, and requires an application for a benefit, which puts the jurisdiction of the driving concession in equity, or in commerce. Once the activity is in equity, or in commerce, constitutional rights are irrelevant.
Today I offer an interview that lets you listen your way into this subject. Rob Wornell lives in Mobile, Ala., and has worked as a recruiter in the energy sector. He is 38, married, his wife Cory working at a university mental health office under the BP oil spill settlement. He variously in houses and on sailboats, and is looking for work in the paralegal field. Rob has been in court 11 times. He says he’s had nine wins, one loss and one case in Texas that has been in the court of appeals for three years without issue.
His remedy to attacks by state actors: Use your state’s uniform administrative procedures act to force government to “exhaust its administrative remedies” in processing errant motorists who have fallen into their police patrol traps and whom are being charged with either driving on expired licenses or driving without a license.
This phone interview, the two parts of totaling 50 minutes, explains the main premise of the free market in motorcar operation. Mr. Wornell says he refuses to apply for a license because he is not operating in commerce and is not using the highways for profit, unlike truckers and carriers whose profit comes from the tarmac and its commercial use. Generally, a privilege is when a right is dnied to exist, is seized by the state, which allows people to exercise that activity through its regulatory system. What once was a right is now a privilege, and it is made illegal to perform that act apart from state licensure and payment of fees.
Mr. Wornell’s essay “To travel by right, defy citation under administrative procedures act” is the most-read post on this website. My interest as editor is in local economy, free markets and the genius of Christianity to bring order, lubrication and grace to the marketplace. The depth of interest in this material does not distract me from other topics, but suggests an abiding interest among Americans for ancient liberties we have surrendered to the total surveillance and caretaker state. I bring up the issue — and bring Mr. Wornell to you — in an effort to get more people to say “NO” to the state and its agents. If I want them to say no to roadside interrogations by cops and to demands to search the trunks, I have a duty to suggest remedies.
A word about UAPA. Tennessee’s uniform administrative procedures act is Tennessee Code Annotated 4-5-101. To find it online at LexisNexis, just google “Tennessee code” and it’ll pop up. Bureaucracies have refined this byzantine area of American law, the law internal to a given agency. Agencies have internal courts run by administrative law judges where cases are tried by these officers who are judge and jury. Verdicts within an agency are appealable to a real court, a judicial setting either in state or federal jurisdiction. Mr. Wornell and his friends across the country have hurled back upon the state a demand. The officers demands one’s license. They go to the antecedent point to this power: The point where they, allegedly, are ordered to get a driver’s license when they put their four tires onto the public roadway. They insist the state prove jurisdiction over them in their claim that they are in commerce and that they have to have driver’s licenses to ride their cars.
David Tulis hosts Nooganomics.com on Hot News Talk Radio 1240 AM in Chattanooga, a show that airs 1 to 3 p.m. weekdays and covers local economy and the free market. A deacon at Brainerd Hills Presbyterian Church, he is married and the father of four children.
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