Matron of constitution fears tongue-twisting liberty lingo

June Griffin and her ailing husband, J.B., for whom she cares amid many ambulance trips from Dayton, Tenn., to VA hospitals. For groceries and other necessities, Mrs. Griffin take to the public right-of-way by car, exercising her rights to travel pursuant to transportation administrative notice. (Photo David Tulis)

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a reluctant patriot

June Griffin is a long time defender of the constitution, of limited government, of the Ten Commandments and believes that God’s law and God’s ways are best for a people and their state.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

She has told me just now that she cannot abide by my arguments that are the result of months of legal reading bringing into view an exhilarating and liberating distinction — that between travel and transportation on the roads in Tennessee.

Mrs. Griffin understands there is a distinction between travel and transportation — and that the freedoms she cherishes are found in that distinction being respected by people charged with “enforcing” state law.

Travel is what a “free people” do, to use the term in the Tennessee constitution. It’s the activity of private people. Transportation is what truckers, cabbies, courier services, wrecker operators, dump truck operators, and fleet rental corporations do on the striped pavement of the public right of way. The roads belong to the people and are regulated only insofar as the user of the road is making a profit on the use of that public way. This activity is called transportation. It is subject to regulation and the police power of the executive state, for better or worse.

Mrs. Griffin understands my analysis on this point. It runs to 20 pages single-spaced type and a few headlines in 18-point type. She has mastered it, no doubt.

The good soul understands that because of ignorance among the people and indifference to their rights, that the modern state has absorbed all of travel on the roads under commercial definitions, and in practice rejects any free use of the road by both of us. She fumes over this state of affairs, and stands her ground.

‘Getting too technical’

Mrs. Griffin understands that an argument for free travel she has to make on to a local public servant has to be on point. She cannot be stopped legally under probable cause for Tenn. Code Ann. title 55 infractions if she is traveling and not in transportation.

“Look, I understand what you’re saying,” he says, “but I want to use familiar language when I talk with the sheriff about this matter. I’m going to tell him that I have a right to drive and that I’m simply exercising my constitutional liberties to do so without a license.”

“But, still, you can’t tell the officer that you are driving,” I reply, frustrated.

“You can’t tell the cop that you are operating a motor vehicle. You can’t admit that you are an operator. If you do that, you are affirming his rebuttable presumption. His rebuttable presumption is that everyone on the road is in fact subject to state regulation because he is involved in transportation.

“Don’t admit that. Don’t admit or confess or cede that you are operating a motor vehicle. You’re not. You’re simply traveling on the public right-of-way in your own conveyance or instrument of convenience. You’re not commercial.”

This discussion makes no sense for this matron of the constitution in Southeast Tennessee. She says for me to insist on a strict vocabulary about traveling at common law is being “too legal and too technical.”

“I’m talking with ordinary people,” Mrs. Griffin says, “and I don’t want to get that technical.”

Overwashed by tide of state words

The problem with Mrs. Griffin may be a personal quirk and maybe she’s right that she doesn’t want to get too technical. However because of Americans’ indifference to the meaning of words and a how they operate, they have deservedly lost many freedoms and many liberties.

In the matter of Tennessee’s commercial government and its control of the streets and roads, the Tennessee code annotated is understood by every cop and every deputy and every chief of police and every sheriff to encompass every use of the road. And those usages are absorbed by the state through words, technically, that breathe backward upon the ranks of cops and deputies and informs their culture of summary judgment, summary arrest and summary executions, sometimes. And that’s done based on presumptive readings of the statute. It’s also done erroneously.

Bubbling up reform from individuals

I aim to make things right among Tennesseans by setting forth an analysis in transportation administrative notice of state law and its history. This law is written in the code. There, words are defined. Many court rulings hold to the travel-transportation distinction when the judges, caught off guard, accidentally obey the constitution that in some of the self-same rulings they overthrow.

TAN is a ground-up remedy that bubbles up from the people and counts on the oath of office among the ranks of cops and deputies. It counts on cops individually to restore the respect for the people that long ago was evaporated by the executive state in Tennessee.


If the constitution lives in them, in their beating hearts and in their minds, the officers will come to have growing respect for travelers on the road. Officers won’t just stand fast upon the rebuttable presumption that they have authority under Tenn. Code Ann. titles 55 and 65 when making a transportation stop.

Under administrative notice, the cop should fear being sued. But there’s a more cheery and more progress-oriented guarantor.

If a cop fears God who stands as overseer of his oath, he will be receptive to the warning implied in the transportation administrative notice. He will not want to hurt the man or woman in the car or truck and abuse them as he has in the past. He will want to respect his or her rights, and even the slightest evidence of an exercise of a right of travel by car or truck he will respect.

He will bend over backwards, in other words, to presume the user is private, not commercial.

Soddy-Daisy roadblock hits 2 nights over holiday

The patriot who doesn’t want to get technical has forgotten how this great wrong came about since 1938 and has received the protection of the court in numerous cases. He refuses to insist that he’s just traveling, and wants to claim he has a right to drive which is ridiculous and absurd. Driving is a regulable act. So is transportation. So is operation of a motor vehicle. If he admits to any of these then he is admitting jurisdiction and the familiar presumptions that for decades have controlled the high calling of “law enforcement.”

How TAN is a bright light

A great body of Tennesseans is vulnerable to the police state and to claims from the executive state through title 55. We have to insist on the proper language, just as a theologian or pastor in the pulpit must insist on the proper language in any reading and explaining out of the word of God. We want officials to operate ministerially pursuant to the authority, and not beyond it.

This project brings to life in the public mind once again the necessity for understanding government words, words crafted by attorneys in the general assembly. We are suffering what today has become an invisible grievance, an offense everyone accepts as the state of affairs. All the parties in the state — creating altogether the deep state in the religious corporation known as State of Tennessee — have agreed quietly to shift the meanings and scope of words without anyone noticing.

Mayor Andy Berke and his chief David Roddy, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond and the rest of public officials have altered their meaning. They make us subjects to these lines of type despite the actual body of law that they claim to be enforcing not bringing such power into view.

I’m not going to go into detail here but this project of administrative notice is shedding light in a new area of liberty which Christians, common people, the poor, the African-American, immigrants from Guatemala and other people in Tennessee might use to be freer, once they have resisted in court and on the side of the street.

And people in other states, too, whose governments have shifted meaning to create total state control of all travel as transportation. As I have explained elsewhere, TAN will allow for personal lawsuits against individual state actors for having acted in bad faith, as transportation administrative notice denies their good faith defense of not knowing and not intending to have oppressed the citizen with ultra vires (“outside the authority”) acts.

Transportation administrative notice is a light, so maybe now it’s time to get a TAN.

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  1. John Ballinger
  2. John Ballinger

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