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US Supreme Court: license & registration within a state's powers?

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  • Legalbear
    I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”: Hendrick
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 17, 2011

      I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”:

       

      Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 US 610 - Supreme Court 1915

       

      Description: Description: http://scholar.google.com/scholar/tl.png

      235 U.S. 610 (1915)

      HENDRICK
      v.
      STATE OF MARYLAND.

      No. 77.

      Supreme Court of United States.

      Argued November 11, 12, 1914.

      Decided January 5, 1915.

      ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, STATE OF MARYLAND.

      611*611 Mr. Jackson H. Ralston and Mr. Osborne I. Yellott, with whom Mr. Clement L. Bouve and Mr. William E. Richardson were on the brief, for plaintiff in error.

      Mr. Enos S. Stockbridge and Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, Attorney General of the State of Maryland, for defendant in error.

      618*618 MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the court.

      Plaintiff in error was tried before a Justice of the Peace, Prince George's County, Maryland, upon a charge of violating the Motor Vehicle Law. A written motion to quash the warrant because of conflict between the statute and the Constitution of the United States was denied; he was found guilty and fined. Thereupon an appeal was taken to the Circuit Court — the highest in the State having jurisdiction — where the cause stood for trial de novo upon the original papers. It was there submitted for determination by the court upon an agreed statement of facts grievously verbose but in substance as follows:

      The cause was originally brought July 27, 1910, before a Justice of the Peace for Prince George's County by the State against John T. Hendrick for violating § 133 of the Motor Vehicle Law effective July 1, 1910. He is and then was a citizen of the United States, resident and commorant 619*619 in the District of Columbia. On that day he left his office in Washington in his own automobile and drove it into Prince George's County and while temporarily there was arrested on the charge of operating it upon the highways without having procured the certificate of registration required by § 133 of the Motor Vehicle Law. He was brought before a Justice of the Peace and fined fifteen dollars after having been found guilty of the charge set out in a warrant duly issued — a motion to quash having been denied. Whereupon he filed his appeal. At the time and place aforesaid he had not procured the certificate of registration for his automobile required by § 133. Upon the foregoing the court shall determine the questions and differences between the parties and render judgment according as their rights in law may appear in the same manner as if the facts aforesaid were proven upon the trial. Either party may appeal.

      The Maryland legislature, by an act effective July 1, 1910 (c. 207, Laws 1910, 168, at p. 177), prescribed a comprehensive scheme for licensing and regulating motor vehicles. The following summary sufficiently indicates its provisions:

      The Governor shall appoint a commissioner of motor vehicles, with power to designate assistants, who shall secure enforcement of the statute. Before any motor vehicle is operated upon the highways the owner shall make a statement to the commissioner and procure a certificate of registration; thereafter it shall bear a numbered plate. This certificate and plate shall be evidence of authority for operating the machine during the current year (§ 133). Registration fees are fixed according to horse-power — six dollars when 20 or less; twelve dollars when from 20 to 40; and eighteen dollars when in excess of 40 (§ 136). No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon the highway until he has obtained at a cost of two dollars an operator's license, subject to revocation for cause 620*620 (§ 137). Any owner or operator of an automobile, non-resident of Maryland, who has complied with the laws of the State in which he resides requiring the registration of motor vehicles, or licensing of operators thereof, etc., may under specified conditions obtain a distinguishing tag and permission to operate such machine over the highways for not exceeding two periods of seven consecutive days in a calendar year without paying the ordinary fees for registration and operator's license (§ 140a); but residents of the District of Columbia are not included amongst those to whom this privilege is granted (§ 132). Other sections relate to speed, rules of the road, accidents, signals, penalties, arrests, trials, fines, etc. All money collected under the provisions of the Act go to the commissioner, and except so much as is necessary for salaries and expenses must be paid into the state treasury to be used in construction, maintaining, and repairing the streets of Baltimore and roads built or aided by a county or the State itself. Section 140a is copied in the margin.[1]

      621*621 Plaintiff in error maintains that the act is void because — It discriminates against residents of the District of Columbia; attempts to regulate interstate commerce; violates the rights of citizens of the United States to pass into and through the State; exacts a tax for revenue — not mere compensation for the use of facilities — according to arbitrary classifications, and thereby deprives citizens of the United States of the equal protection of the laws.

      If the statute is otherwise valid, the alleged discrimination against residents of the District of Columbia is not adequate ground for us now to declare it altogether bad. At most they are entitled to equality of treatment, and in the absence of some definite and authoritative ruling by the courts of the State we will not assume that upon a proper showing this will be denied. The record fails to disclose that Hendrick had complied with the laws in force within the District of Columbia in respect of registering motor vehicles and licensing operators, or that he applied to the Maryland commissioner for an identifying tag or marker — prerequisites to a limited use of the highways without cost by residents of other States under the plain terms of § 140a. He cannot therefore set up a claim of discrimination in this particular. Only those whose rights are directly affected can properly question the constitutionality of a state statute and invoke our jurisdiction in respect thereto. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S. 152, 161; Williams v. Walsh, 222 U.S. 415, 423; Collins v. Texas, 223 U.S. 288, 295, 296; Missouri, 622*622 Kansas & Texas Ry. v. Cade, 233 U.S. 642, 648, and cases cited.

      The movement of motor vehicles over the highways is attended by constant and serious dangers to the public, and is also abnormally destructive to the ways themselves. Their success depends on good roads the construction and maintenance of which are exceedingly expensive; and in recent years insistent demands have been made upon the States for better facilities, especially by the ever-increasing number of those who own such vehicles. As is well known, in order to meet this demand and accommodate the growing traffic the State of Maryland has built and is maintaining a system of improved roadways. Primarily for the enforcement of good order and the protection of those within its own jurisdiction the State put into effect the above-described general regulations, including requirements for registration and licenses. A further evident purpose was to secure some compensation for the use of facilities provided at great cost from the class for whose needs they are essential and whose operations over them are peculiarly injurious.

      In the absence of national legislation covering the subject a State may rightfully prescribe uniform regulations necessary for public safety and order in respect to the operation upon its highways of all motor vehicles — those moving in interstate commerce as well as others. And to this end it may require the registration of such vehicles and the licensing of their drivers, charging therefor reasonable fees graduated according to the horse-power of the engines — a practical measure of size, speed, and difficulty of control. This is but an exercise of the police power uniformly recognized as belonging to the States and essential to the preservation of the health, safety and comfort of their citizens; and it does not constitute a direct and material burden on interstate commerce. The reasonableness of the State's action is always subject to 623*623 inquiry in so far as it affects interstate commerce, and in that regard it is likewise subordinate to the will of Congress. Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 30, 31; Smith v. Alabama, 124 U.S. 465, 480; Lawton v. Steele, 152 U.S. 133, 136; N.Y., N.H. & H.R.R. v. New York, 165 U.S. 628, 631; Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 392; Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway v. Ohio, 173 U.S. 285, 298; Chicago, B. & Q.R.R. v. McGuire, 219 U.S. 549, 568; Atlantic Coast Line v. Georgia, 234 U.S. 280, 291.

      In Smith v. Alabama, supra, consideration was given to the validity of an Alabama statute forbidding any engineer to operate a railroad train without first undergoing an examination touching his fitness and obtaining a license for which a fee was charged. The language of the court, speaking through Mr. Justice Matthews, in reply to the suggestion that the statute unduly burdened interstate commerce and was therefore void, aptly declares the doctrine which is applicable here. He said (p. 480):

      "But the provisions on the subject contained in the statute of Alabama under consideration are not regulations of interstate commerce. It is a misnomer to call them such. Considered in themselves, they are parts of that body of the local law which, as we have already seen, properly governs the relation between carriers of passengers and merchandise and the public who employ them, which are not displaced until they come in conflict with express enactments of Congress in the exercise of its power over commerce, and which, until so displaced, according to the evident intention of Congress, remain as the law governing carriers in the discharge of their obligations, whether engaged in the purely internal commerce of the State or in commerce among the States."

      The prescribed regulations upon their face do not appear to be either unnecessary or unreasonable.

      In view of the many decisions of this court there can be 624*624 no serious doubt that where a State at its own expense furnishes special facilities for the use of those engaged in commerce, interstate as well as domestic, it may exact compensation therefore. The amount of the charges and the method of collection are primarily for determination by the State itself; and so long as they are reasonable and are fixed according to some uniform, fair and practical standard they constitute no burden on interstate commerce. Transportation Co. v. Parkersburg, 107 U.S. 691, 699; Huse v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543, 548, 549; Monongahela Navigation Co. v. United States, 148 U.S. 312, 329, 330; Minnesota Rate Cases, 230 U.S. 352, 405; and authorities cited. The action of the State must be treated as correct unless the contrary is made to appear. In the instant case there is no evidence concerning the value of the facilities supplied by the State, the cost of maintaining them, or the fairness of the methods adopted for collecting the charges imposed; and we cannot say from a mere inspection of the statute that its provisions are arbitrary or unreasonable.

      There is no solid foundation for the claim that the statute directly interferes with the rights of citizens of the United States to pass through the State, and is consequently bad according to the doctrine announced in Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35. In that case a direct tax was laid upon the passenger for the privilege of leaving the State; while here the statute at most attempts to regulate the operation of dangerous machines on the highways and to charge for the use of valuable facilities.

      As the capacity of the machine owned by plaintiff in error does not appear, he cannot complain of discrimination because fees are imposed according to engine power. Distinctions amongst motor machines and between them and other vehicles may be proper — essential indeed — and those now challenged are not obviously arbitrary or oppressive. The statute is not a mere revenue measure 625*625 and a discussion of the classifications permissible under such an act would not be pertinent.

      There is no error in the judgment complained of and it is accordingly

      Affirmed.

      [1] "140a. Any owner or operator not a resident of this State who shall have complied with the laws of the State in which he resides, requiring the registration of motor vehicles or licensing of operators thereof and the display of identification or registration numbers on such vehicles, and who shall cause the identification numbers of such State, in accordance with the laws thereof, and none other, together with the initial letter of said State, to be displayed on his motor vehicle, as in this subtitle provided, while used or operated upon the public highways of this State, may use such highways not exceeding two periods of seven consecutive days in each calendar year, without complying with the provisions of Sections 133 and 137 of this subtitle; if he obtains from the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and displays on the rear of such vehicle a tag or marker which the said Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall issue in such form and contain such distinguishing marks as he may deem best; provided, that if any non-resident be convicted of violating any provisions of Sections 140b, 140c, 140d, 140e and 140l of this subtitle, he shall thereafter be subject to and required to comply with all the provisions of said Sections 133 and 137 relating to the registration of motor vehicles and the licensing of operators thereof; and the Governor of this State is hereby authorized and empowered to confer and advise with the proper officers and legislative bodies of other States of the Union and enter into reciprocal agreements under which the registration of motor vehicles owned by residents of this State will be recognized by such other States, and he is further authorized and empowered, from time to time, to grant to residents of other States the privilege of using the roads of this State as in this section provided in return for similar privileges granted residents of this State by such other States."

       

       

       

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    • Daniel Nieves
      As always I thank you for giving us something to ponder LegalBear.  I would like to point out what I see  Upon the foregoing the court shall determine the
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 17, 2011
        As always I thank you for giving us something to ponder LegalBear.  I would like to point out what I see  "Upon the foregoing the court shall determine the questions and differences between the parties and render judgment according as their rights in law may appear in the same manner as if the facts aforesaid were proven upon the trial."

        What I noted was how Mr. Hendrick was subject to their laws.  I do not know how he pleaded but from the 2nd paragraph Mr. Hendrick waived his right to travel.  I still am a laymen so Im sure I will be made aware.  My apologies but I would like some feedback on this topic. 
         1. He is and then was a citizen of the United States, resident and commorant 619*619 in the District of Columbia. (Do US Citizens and residents have the right to travel?) 
        2. On that day he left his office in Washington in his own automobile and drove it into Prince George's County
        (Can one drive and travel at the same time?) 

        I dont know what this man pleaded however if he failed to challenge, deny, object  those facts that were "proven at trial" then they must be true and he was therefore subject to their "motor vehicle" law

        There is no solid foundation for the claim that the statute directly interferes with the rights of citizens of the United States to pass through the State

        Perhaps had Mr. Hendrick pleaded he was a state citizen , transient-foreigner, traveling on the land of the state exercising his rights secured, the court may have ruled differently.  But then again, I don't know what he pleaded and what is even more true is that the Tyrants do what they want no matter what is pleaded.

         

        From: Legalbear <bear@...>
        To: tips_and_tricks@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 5:50 PM
        Subject: [tips_and_tricks] US Supreme Court: license & registration within a state's powers?

         
        I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”:
         
        Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 US 610 - Supreme Court 1915
      • Jake
            I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”:
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 18, 2011
             > I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”:
           
          Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 US 610 - Supreme Court 1915


          That's one I hadn't seen before & in a way, it reminds me of a State case about 15 years later, Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 579:  

             "The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon,
          either by carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit or permit at will,
          but a common law right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".


          The key difference between the 2 cases is the purpose of the statute / ordinance involved & I think it's safe to say that Maryland doesn't have the law addressed in Hendrick v. Maryland anymore.  A key issue in that case, understandable given the timeframe (1910-1915) when automobile / truck use was 1st growing by leaps & bounds, was how to raise revenue to build new roads & maintain the ones already there, which had been designed for horse & buggy, not cars & trucks.

          Regarding the motor vehicle law in Hendrick, note the following:

             "Other sections relate to speed, rules of the road, accidents, signals, penalties, arrests, trials, fines, etc.   All money collected under the provisions of the Act go to the commissioner, and except so much as is necessary for salaries and expenses must be paid into the state treasury to be used in the construction, maintaining, and repairing the streets of Baltimore and roads built or aided by a county or the State itself."  (Emphasis added).

          The court clearly determined that the purpose of the Act was fine, but since then, the States & the federal Gov't. enacted "highway use" taxes which are applied to gasoline & diesel fuel @ the pump, so no special registration, plate, etc. such as Maryland required in 1910 is necessary.  The more you drive, the more fuel you buy & the more highway use tax you pay.  I think that's a pretty fair measure & if you don't drive @ all, you don't pay the tax.  Although, both the State & federal governments are crying now because newer vehicles get much better fuel mileage, so you can drive the same distance you always have & pay less highway use tax because you don't need to buy as much fuel as you used to.

          The Thompson v. Smith case was a different ballgame & I'm going by memory here.  The full text of that decision is not on the internet & years ago I photocopied it out of the Southeastern Reporter in a university law library, but I'm not going to take the time to find my copy now.  If I remember correctly, a certain small city in Georgia had passed an ordinance requiring a driver's license just to drive in or thru that city, based on the concept that it's a "privilege" to use the public roads.  And it is if you use the roads in commerce - but it's not if you're using the roads on your own personal business.  In other words, I drove a taxi for a while when I went to college (since I could choose my own working hours) & I drove semis cross-country for several years - both a taxi & a semi are "commercial vehicles for hire" operated in an activity which can be licensed, regulated & taxed.  But I don't need a license to use my "personal conveyance" to go to the grocery store.

          Along the same lines, back when I was driving semis, Ohio got slam-dunked by the feds for using a rest area as a weigh station & commercial vehicle checkpoint.  Funny little story about that - I drove right past it, but didn't see the temporary sign drivers were talking about on the CB radio, which said something like "All commercial vehicles must exit", with an arrow pointing to the entrance of a rest area.   The reason I didn't see the sign, from what I heard on my radio, was that drivers kept knocking it down with their huge front bumpers & by the time I got there, there wasn't enough left of the sign to put back together!

          But I digress - I followed up on that situation later & the federal Gov't. said that the rest areas along interstate highways are "for the convenience of the traveling public" & the State had no authority to use one as a temporary weigh station (some state troopers carry portable scales), or to check semi drivers' log books, licenses, etc.  The State of Ohio got a huge fine over that & was ordered to never do it again.  And if you need more weigh stations, build 'em yourself - commercial vehicles & the "traveling public" are 2 different things.

          From the case law I've read, it appears that it was in the 1930's when the line between commercial vehicle for hire & "personal conveyance" started to get blurred - in Thompson (around 1930), the city-issued license ordinance was held to be invalid & several States did not have driver's license laws like those since then & especially since WWII.  But note that the federal definition of "motor vehicle" still is commercial vehicle:

          18 U.S.C. § 31 Definitions:
           (a)
              (6) Motor vehicle.— The term “motor vehicle” means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, passengers and property, or property or cargo.  (Emphasis added).

          Compare that with NC's definition:

          N.C.G.S. § 20-4.01 Definitions.
             (23) Motor Vehicle. – Every vehicle which is self-propelled and every vehicle designed to run upon the highways which is pulled by a self-propelled vehicle. This shall not include mopeds as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(27)d1.

          Now, do the States have the right to re-define the term "motor vehicle"?  In our society where drivers (commercial & private) cross State lines all the time, I would say no.  Another reason I say no deals with the Constitutional ideal that States must honor each other's laws & an example of a guy from Arizona who got stopped in NC for having the windows on his car tinted too dark.  But the dark tint was legal in Arizona & the car had AZ tags, so the charge was dismissed.

          And as much as I hate the federal Gov't. setting standards, when it comes to interstate travel, I don't have a problem with it.  For example, when I drove semis in the late '70's & early '80's, the States had different weight / length laws & while you could be legal in the State you picked up a load in & the State where you were going to deliver it, you'd often be overweight or over length in States you had to go thru on the way.  But since then, the weight / length rules have been standardized nationwide.

          "Motor vehicle" is actually a misnomer (except for electric vehicles), but no matter how many definitions the States come up with, at least the federal Gov't. recognizes to some degree the difference between a commercial vehicle which is a "privilege" to operate & "personal conveyance" which you have a right to operate.  There's a ton of case law on all this too, but it is not "standardized" by any stretch of the imagination.  But go back to the 1930's & earlier - driver's licenses then were for the "privilege" of operating a commercial vehicle for hire.

          See also, Frost & Frost Trucking v. R.R. Comm'n of California, 271 U.S. 583 (1926):

             1. Assuming that the use of its highways by private carriers for hire is a privilege which the state may deny, it cannot constitutionally affix to that privilege the unconstitutional condition precedent that the carrier shall assume against his will the burdens and duties of a common carrier. P. 271 U.S. 592.   (Emphasis added).

          * * *
          There is involved in the inquiry not a single power, but two distinct powers. One of these, the power to prohibit the use of the public highways in proper cases, the state possesses, and the other, the power to compel a private carrier to assume against his will the duties and burdens of a common carrier, the state does not possess.

          * * *
          It would be a palpable incongruity to strike down an act of state legislation which, by words of express divestment, seeks to strip the citizen of rights guaranteed by the federal Constitution, but to uphold an act by which the same result is accomplished under the guise of a surrender of a right in exchange for a valuable privilege which the state threatens otherwise to withhold.  It is not necessary to challenge the proposition that, as a general rule, the state, having power to deny a privilege altogether, may grant it upon such conditions as it sees fit to impose.  But the power of the state in that respect is not unlimited, and one of the limitations is that it may not impose conditions which require the relinquishment of constitutional rights.  If the state may compel the surrender of one constitutional right as a condition of its favor, it may, in like manner, compel a surrender of all.  It is inconceivable that guaranties embedded in the Constitution of the United States may thus be manipulated out of existence.

          ~ ~ ~
        • Patrick McKEE
          To me the EVIDENCE points to DRIVER S LICENSES still being for the COMMERCIAL usage of the roads & that we are PRESUMED to be using the roads for that PURPOSE
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 24, 2011

            To me the EVIDENCE points to DRIVER’S LICENSES still being for the COMMERCIAL usage of the roads & that we are PRESUMED to be using the roads for that PURPOSE since that USAGE is a STATE granted PRIVILEGE that can be REGULATED accordingly.  As OPPOSED to the usage of the roads for purposes of VEHICULAR TRAVEL, WHICH is should be part of our PERSONAL LIBERTY & a MATTER OF RIGHT.

             

            USAGE of the PUBLIC ROADS & "patriot mythology"

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alliancepeaceprosperity/message/105

             

            Patrick in California

             

            Founder, ALLIANCE for PEACE & PROSPERITY

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alliancepeaceprosperity/

             

            "It ain't what ya don't know that hurts ya. What really puts a hurtin' on ya is what ya knows for sure, that just ain't so." -- Uncle Remus

             

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          • Justice
            Barry, Help me word this question. The real issue is not the right to travel, for this is well established. Rather the fundamental legal question is several
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 2, 2012
              Barry,

              Help me word this question.

              The real issue is not the "right to travel," for this is well established. 

              Rather the fundamental legal question is several fold: 1) whether personal use of the highways is a property right of individual liberty, and 2) whether the use of an automobile for travel on the public highways is adjunct property right of liberty; and 3) whether the state can compel the surrender of these personal rights by statutory extortion, i.e. requiring the procurement of the benefit of a certificate of title; and whether the procurement of the certificate of title shrouds the property in the cloak or status of a "motor vehicle" thereby converting the unalienable right to a privilege subject to the motor vehicle code.

              On 8/17/2011 3:50 PM, Legalbear wrote:

              I’ve seen a lot of research on “right to travel”, but, I’ve never seen anyone address this case. Please note the references to “commerce”:

               

              Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 US 610 - Supreme Court 1915

               

              Description: Description:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar/tl.png

              235 U.S. 610 (1915)

              HENDRICK
              v.
              STATE OF MARYLAND.

              No. 77.

              Supreme Court of United States.

              Argued November 11, 12, 1914.

              Decided January 5, 1915.

              ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, STATE OF MARYLAND.

              611*611 Mr. Jackson H. Ralston and Mr. Osborne I. Yellott, with whom Mr. Clement L. Bouve and Mr. William E. Richardson were on the brief, for plaintiff in error.

              Mr. Enos S. Stockbridge and Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, Attorney General of the State of Maryland, for defendant in error.

              618*618 MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the court.

              Plaintiff in error was tried before a Justice of the Peace, Prince George's County, Maryland, upon a charge of violating the Motor Vehicle Law. A written motion to quash the warrant because of conflict between the statute and the Constitution of the United States was denied; he was found guilty and fined. Thereupon an appeal was taken to the Circuit Court — the highest in the State having jurisdiction — where the cause stood for trial de novo upon the original papers. It was there submitted for determination by the court upon an agreed statement of facts grievously verbose but in substance as follows:

              The cause was originally brought July 27, 1910, before a Justice of the Peace for Prince George's County by the State against John T. Hendrick for violating § 133 of the Motor Vehicle Law effective July 1, 1910. He is and then was a citizen of the United States, resident and commorant 619*619 in the District of Columbia. On that day he left his office in Washington in his own automobile and drove it into Prince George's County and while temporarily there was arrested on the charge of operating it upon the highways without having procured the certificate of registration required by § 133 of the Motor Vehicle Law. He was brought before a Justice of the Peace and fined fifteen dollars after having been found guilty of the charge set out in a warrant duly issued — a motion to quash having been denied. Whereupon he filed his appeal. At the time and place aforesaid he had not procured the certificate of registration for his automobile required by § 133. Upon the foregoing the court shall determine the questions and differences between the parties and render judgment according as their rights in law may appear in the same manner as if the facts aforesaid were proven upon the trial. Either party may appeal.

              The Maryland legislature, by an act effective July 1, 1910 (c. 207, Laws 1910, 168, at p. 177), prescribed a comprehensive scheme for licensing and regulating motor vehicles. The following summary sufficiently indicates its provisions:

              The Governor shall appoint a commissioner of motor vehicles, with power to designate assistants, who shall secure enforcement of the statute. Before any motor vehicle is operated upon the highways the owner shall make a statement to the commissioner and procure a certificate of registration; thereafter it shall bear a numbered plate. This certificate and plate shall be evidence of authority for operating the machine during the current year (§ 133). Registration fees are fixed according to horse-power — six dollars when 20 or less; twelve dollars when from 20 to 40; and eighteen dollars when in excess of 40 (§ 136). No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon the highway until he has obtained at a cost of two dollars an operator's license, subject to revocation for cause 620*620 (§ 137). Any owner or operator of an automobile, non-resident of Maryland, who has complied with the laws of the State in which he resides requiring the registration of motor vehicles, or licensing of operators thereof, etc., may under specified conditions obtain a distinguishing tag and permission to operate such machine over the highways for not exceeding two periods of seven consecutive days in a calendar year without paying the ordinary fees for registration and operator's license (§ 140a); but residents of the District of Columbia are not included amongst those to whom this privilege is granted (§ 132). Other sections relate to speed, rules of the road, accidents, signals, penalties, arrests, trials, fines, etc. All money collected under the provisions of the Act go to the commissioner, and except so much as is necessary for salaries and expenses must be paid into the state treasury to be used in construction, maintaining, and repairing the streets of Baltimore and roads built or aided by a county or the State itself. Section 140a is copied in the margin.[1]

              621*621 Plaintiff in error maintains that the act is void because — It discriminates against residents of the District of Columbia; attempts to regulate interstate commerce; violates the rights of citizens of the United States to pass into and through the State; exacts a tax for revenue — not mere compensation for the use of facilities — according to arbitrary classifications, and thereby deprives citizens of the United States of the equal protection of the laws.

              If the statute is otherwise valid, the alleged discrimination against residents of the District of Columbia is not adequate ground for us now to declare it altogether bad. At most they are entitled to equality of treatment, and in the absence of some definite and authoritative ruling by the courts of the State we will not assume that upon a proper showing this will be denied. The record fails to disclose that Hendrick had complied with the laws in force within the District of Columbia in respect of registering motor vehicles and licensing operators, or that he applied to the Maryland commissioner for an identifying tag or marker — prerequisites to a limited use of the highways without cost by residents of other States under the plain terms of § 140a. He cannot therefore set up a claim of discrimination in this particular. Only those whose rights are directly affected can properly question the constitutionality of a state statute and invoke our jurisdiction in respect thereto. Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S. 152, 161; Williams v. Walsh, 222 U.S. 415, 423; Collins v. Texas, 223 U.S. 288, 295, 296; Missouri, 622*622 Kansas & Texas Ry. v. Cade, 233 U.S. 642, 648, and cases cited.

              The movement of motor vehicles over the highways is attended by constant and serious dangers to the public, and is also abnormally destructive to the ways themselves. Their success depends on good roads the construction and maintenance of which are exceedingly expensive; and in recent years insistent demands have been made upon the States for better facilities, especially by the ever-increasing number of those who own such vehicles. As is well known, in order to meet this demand and accommodate the growing traffic the State of Maryland has built and is maintaining a system of improved roadways. Primarily for the enforcement of good order and the protection of those within its own jurisdiction the State put into effect the above-described general regulations, including requirements for registration and licenses. A further evident purpose was to secure some compensation for the use of facilities provided at great cost from the class for whose needs they are essential and whose operations over them are peculiarly injurious.

              In the absence of national legislation covering the subject a State may rightfully prescribe uniform regulations necessary for public safety and order in respect to the operation upon its highways of all motor vehicles — those moving in interstate commerce as well as others. And to this end it may require the registration of such vehicles and the licensing of their drivers, charging therefor reasonable fees graduated according to the horse-power of the engines — a practical measure of size, speed, and difficulty of control. This is but an exercise of the police power uniformly recognized as belonging to the States and essential to the preservation of the health, safety and comfort of their citizens; and it does not constitute a direct and material burden on interstate commerce. The reasonableness of the State's action is always subject to 623*623 inquiry in so far as it affects interstate commerce, and in that regard it is likewise subordinate to the will of Congress. Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 30, 31; Smith v. Alabama, 124 U.S. 465, 480; Lawton v. Steele, 152 U.S. 133, 136; N.Y., N.H. & H.R.R. v. New York, 165 U.S. 628, 631; Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366, 392; Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway v. Ohio, 173 U.S. 285, 298; Chicago, B. & Q.R.R. v. McGuire, 219 U.S. 549, 568; Atlantic Coast Line v. Georgia, 234 U.S. 280, 291.

              In Smith v. Alabama, supra, consideration was given to the validity of an Alabama statute forbidding any engineer to operate a railroad train without first undergoing an examination touching his fitness and obtaining a license for which a fee was charged. The language of the court, speaking through Mr. Justice Matthews, in reply to the suggestion that the statute unduly burdened interstate commerce and was therefore void, aptly declares the doctrine which is applicable here. He said (p. 480):

              "But the provisions on the subject contained in the statute of Alabama under consideration are not regulations of interstate commerce. It is a misnomer to call them such. Considered in themselves, they are parts of that body of the local law which, as we have already seen, properly governs the relation between carriers of passengers and merchandise and the public who employ them, which are not displaced until they come in conflict with express enactments of Congress in the exercise of its power over commerce, and which, until so displaced, according to the evident intention of Congress, remain as the law governing carriers in the discharge of their obligations, whether engaged in the purely internal commerce of the State or in commerce among the States."

              The prescribed regulations upon their face do not appear to be either unnecessary or unreasonable.

              In view of the many decisions of this court there can be 624*624 no serious doubt that where a State at its own expense furnishes special facilities for the use of those engaged in commerce, interstate as well as domestic, it may exact compensation therefore. The amount of the charges and the method of collection are primarily for determination by the State itself; and so long as they are reasonable and are fixed according to some uniform, fair and practical standard they constitute no burden on interstate commerce. Transportation Co. v. Parkersburg, 107 U.S. 691, 699; Huse v. Glover, 119 U.S. 543, 548, 549; Monongahela Navigation Co. v. United States, 148 U.S. 312, 329, 330; Minnesota Rate Cases, 230 U.S. 352, 405; and authorities cited. The action of the State must be treated as correct unless the contrary is made to appear. In the instant case there is no evidence concerning the value of the facilities supplied by the State, the cost of maintaining them, or the fairness of the methods adopted for collecting the charges imposed; and we cannot say from a mere inspection of the statute that its provisions are arbitrary or unreasonable.

              There is no solid foundation for the claim that the statute directly interferes with the rights of citizens of the United States to pass through the State, and is consequently bad according to the doctrine announced in Crandall v. Nevada, 6 Wall. 35. In that case a direct tax was laid upon the passenger for the privilege of leaving the State; while here the statute at most attempts to regulate the operation of dangerous machines on the highways and to charge for the use of valuable facilities.

              As the capacity of the machine owned by plaintiff in error does not appear, he cannot complain of discrimination because fees are imposed according to engine power. Distinctions amongst motor machines and between them and other vehicles may be proper — essential indeed — and those now challenged are not obviously arbitrary or oppressive. The statute is not a mere revenue measure 625*625 and a discussion of the classifications permissible under such an act would not be pertinent.

              There is no error in the judgment complained of and it is accordingly

              Affirmed.

              [1] "140a. Any owner or operator not a resident of this State who shall have complied with the laws of the State in which he resides, requiring the registration of motor vehicles or licensing of operators thereof and the display of identification or registration numbers on such vehicles, and who shall cause the identification numbers of such State, in accordance with the laws thereof, and none other, together with the initial letter of said State, to be displayed on his motor vehicle, as in this subtitle provided, while used or operated upon the public highways of this State, may use such highways not exceeding two periods of seven consecutive days in each calendar year, without complying with the provisions of Sections 133 and 137 of this subtitle; if he obtains from the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and displays on the rear of such vehicle a tag or marker which the said Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall issue in such form and contain such distinguishing marks as he may deem best; provided, that if any non-resident be convicted of violating any provisions of Sections 140b, 140c, 140d, 140e and 140l of this subtitle, he shall thereafter be subject to and required to comply with all the provisions of said Sections 133 and 137 relating to the registration of motor vehicles and the licensing of operators thereof; and the Governor of this State is hereby authorized and empowered to confer and advise with the proper officers and legislative bodies of other States of the Union and enter into reciprocal agreements under which the registration of motor vehicles owned by residents of this State will be recognized by such other States, and he is further authorized and empowered, from time to time, to grant to residents of other States the privilege of using the roads of this State as in this section provided in return for similar privileges granted residents of this State by such other States."

               

               

               

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