A widely accepted practice by Tennessee’s legal establishment against the people is the enforcement of traffic laws against individuals who are not subject to those statutes.
Those least able to handle this abusive state activity at the hand of East Ridge police department are African-Americans, Hispanic immigrants and the poor who are swept into city court and Hamilton County’s jails. Many have had driver licenses revoked for inability to pay court costs.
By giving the city an administrative notice about the limits of the law, I am encouraging East Ridge to update its police traffic stop protocol.
A key point for the city to remember is the legal distinction between travel and transportation.
Travel is by individual men and women for pleasure or private business under the constitution’s protection. To exercise any of your God-given unalienable and inherent rights, you have to be able to travel freely and apart from anyone’s permission or the payment of any tax.
Transportation, in contrast, is the use of the people’s road for profit in carrying goods or people for hire — cabbies, haulers, courier services, trucking fleet operators, wreckers, ambulance companies and the like.
The Supreme Court in Tennessee denies any personal right to free movement on the public right of way. Its opinions speak with two mouths. It insists that travel is nothing more than the right to relocate from one state to another. But even in this practice of judicial activism, it admits the distinction that is starkly presented in both Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated and the federal transportation law in Title 49, that between travel and transportation. The distinction is found the first laws about self-propulsion in Shannon’s Code.
Policy in Tennessee, as any officer will tell you: There is no right to travel by car, only the privilege of driving and operating a motor vehicle.
By transportation administrative notice, I propose East Ridge defy Nashville legal custom and make good with the people.
Order the cop at a traffic stop to ask a new question: “Ma’am [or, sir], are you using this car as a motor vehicle for hire or for commercial purposes?”
If she says, “What’re you talking about? Just taking the kids to soccer practice and then the Aldi,” she’s a private user, not involved in commerce. The officer has no authority to ask more questions. He urges her to obey the advisory traffic rules for her own safety, and lets her go on her way.
If the person behind the wheel says she’s under contract to hurry a frozen heart from Memorial Hospital to Vanderbilt, the officer has authority to ask more.
“Ma’am, do you have a valid driver license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration?” He has authority to ask because this person is in commerce, a regulable activity.
This question will allow the city to halt the overbroad use of the transportation law against people not involved in commercial use of the roads. The doctrine of notice imposes a duty on the recipient and personalizes the law — and its limits. Let’s see if East Ridge will inform officers of the people’s rights.
It’s cops’ personal necks that are on the line.
_-David Tulis hosts a show 9-11 weekday mornings at 92.7 FM NoogaRadio covering local economy and free markets in East Ridge and beyond.