Comment: THIS is how it happened (right to travel -> driving privilege)

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In post: Common Law

THIS is how it happened (right to travel -> driving privilege)

I ran across a great treatise that goes into serious depth about the history of how our laws transformed over about a 50-year period in the 20th Century having to do with traffic laws.

When the automobile was first invented, the people, the legislatures, and the courts all pretty much agreed that every individual had a right to travel, and that included on the public roads by their method of choice, including automobile.

There is even a Kansas Supreme Court case specifically stating this. But that was over 100 years ago. By about the 1920's, there were public cries about regulating autos because they were dangerous (sound familiar?). At first legislatures passed laws for registering cars and licensing drivers, but courts ruled those laws to be unconstitutional.

But over time, more laws came and more public outcries came, and eventually the courts just started ignoring their own previous rulings and started claiming that driving for personal reasons was a right but for commercial reasons on the public roads was a privilege.

By the 1950's, the courts and the legislatures pretty much threw out any pretense of right and started saying it is 100% privilege. Today, that is their stance.

There were no constitutional amendments or anything. The courts just finally gave in to the pressures of the politicians and the people demanding "change" and the laws/court cases (i.e. "common law" for what it's worth) was changed.


George Washington would have called it usurpation.

And this is why we see people claiming there are court cases that say travel is a right or that licensing is only for commercial purposes, etc. Yes, those cases are out there, but they are no longer viewed by the courts as relevant. And that's the problem.

This is a long read, but excellent: