Tennessee court policy denies any right to travel exists, except in one instance. And that is the “individual right to move between states,” to change one’s domicile from Tennessee, say, to Florida.
That’s the point made by Neal Pinkston, the elected state’s attorney in Hamilton County, who intends to enforce against private people in Hamilton County this theory of the law, this policy upheld by courts — despite unmistakeable and breathtaking contradiction in the statute itself and almost all case law covering the field of transportation, even in those opinions that strike a policy deathblow to a fundamental God-given right and liberty — that of free private movement of one’s person and goods.
The following is Mr. Pinkston’s brief about Tenn. Code Ann. § 55, the commercial transportation law he routinely enforces to cover 100 percent of car/truck users on the roadways. It comes in an email from Melydia Clewell, his spokeswoman, after I gave the DA’s office administrative notice March 26, 2018, about the limits of the double-nickel. — DJT
No travel, only transportation
You could’ve saved yourself a lot of time & trouble if you’d bothered to check legal precedents for this issue. It doesn’t matter what you think is illegal, it matters what the US Supreme Court finds illegal. SCOTUS has repeatedly ignored similar arguments to yours, instead choosing to allow lower appellate court rulings stand. Those rulings hold that:
- A) There is no Constitutional “Right to Travel”;
- B) There IS a Constitutional right to Freedom of Movement between states;
- C) Freedom of Movement is not the same thing as having a right to operate a motor vehicle; AND
- D) It is the sole decision of the individual states to regulate operation of motor vehicles on public roads — and who can drive on them — as the state legislatures see fit.
So you must either convince the TN legislature to repeal all motor vehicle laws pertaining to private drivers/personal vehicles or convince the United States Supreme Court to overrule nearly 120 years of legal precedent.
Until then, the District Attorney will continue to follow the US Constitution, the TN Constitution and Tennessee Code Annotated, that is: Vehicle Registration and Drivers License requirements do not infringe upon any US citizens’ individual right to move between the states. [End of Pinkston / Clewell memo]
Giving us the slippy
The district attorney, as all other state officials, is here eluding the claims of the people, no doubt for their own benefit and well-being. There is no right to drive a motor vehicle, he avers, which is true. Under the state’s operation of commercial government, operation of a motor vehicle is a privilege, a state grace and benefit doled in a discriminating way to citizens who have means to afford it.
No one has a clear right to drive, as it is a privilege, a grant of favor by a great one. The courts, in complicity with the general assembly and the governor, pretend that there is no right of travel, and that all people have no freedom to go about except by foot, scooter, bicycle, horse, mule or, in winter season with their snow, with a dog sled. This is what Mr. Pinkston is saying. He is reflecting his master’s wishes, that of public policy.
If you want to exercise any of your rights, you must obtain our permission first through the driver license and proofs of obedience to other laws pertaining to transportation ( but insurance, registration of car as motor vehicle).
You cannot go and kill your baby by an abortion (a constitutional right, it is alleged) and use a car to get to the abattoir unless you get our permission first. You cannot go to worship God in church on Sunday without getting our permission first. You cannot exercise free association and the rights of assembly without getting our permission first to go to the Trade Center where the event is being held.
You cannot exercise the absolute rights of the press unless you get our permission first before going to the Democratic party candidates fundraiser for an interview and a report. You cannot do anything in the way of buying or selling in a private capacity unless you get our permission first by having a driver license.
State as first cause
In other words, Mr. Pinkston and his lawyerly cronies holds that the state has replaced God and is the first cause, the first source of all activity, and the ground human ingenuity and imagination that creates local economy and free markets. Nothing can move unless we first give permission or unless you want to walk or use a bicycle. We are the first movers. We are the creators. Our state corporation owns everything and, for your benefit, regulates everything down to the last screw — for your health, safety and welfare, in the public interest, etc.
No right is operable unless you ask us first for permission to use your car or truck to get to that place where you plan to exercise the right. Mr. Pinkston is right about how my arguments have been shot down by the Tennessee high court. You have a right to “move between the states,” he reminds us, and that is the only travel we recognize. Until we common folk flail another 100 years in the courts and squeak through an appellant who wins a “right to travel” case, you will simply have to accept Mr. Pinkston’s “follow[ing] the US Constituion, the TN Constitution and Tennessee Code Annotated.”
Such a prognosis of legislative change or winning a case from the judges is impossible to bring about. No change can be had from Nashville, from any of the branches, not even from Bill Haslam’s replacement at the governor’s desk.
There is one remedy, one I have proposed at least once before. It is a bottom up reform, operating one county, one city, at a time. It is truly local economy and lococentrism in action. Here in Chattanooga, it’s called Noogacentrism, that this one city is the center of the universe, and that from this place we can affect change for the better, for liberty and prosperity.
That remedy is under the authority of state law itself, under the authority of multiple court opinions themselves. It’s not a remote and theoretical remedy. In fact, it’s right here, at this click.