I don't know any other way to ask it. I have recently been told that when you are in traffic court there are no references to federal law and to try to use federal law would be considered "pseudo law" , or a sovereignty issue. But from what I can find , the real rule is The U.S. Constitution declares that federal law is “the supreme law of the land.” As a result, when a federal law conflicts with a state or local law, the federal law will supersede the other law or laws. This is commonly known as “preemption.”

I am the -3 and deleted here. I am guessing I will be kicked off the site but I don't understand, because I am being told I can't use federal law when I have very effectively. So I am confused on how I win in court. Is it always a fluke ? Please don't consider this a rant. It is a legitimate legal question that I assumed was answered when a judge took a fix-it ticket and turned it into a $1200 ticket (because I was fighting it) and then apparently just gave me the win even though I was using the Federal Law from the USC Title 18 to define what a motor vehicle was in a State court. But I am not ranting, or upset at all. I'm just wondering, could a judge made such a simple mistake and cost the courts all that money ? Not the $1200, but to pay all the overhead of appearing 4 times and the warrant. Granted, I do believe my answer was PERFECT, I also know I could be wrong. And with my answer being pulled so easily, I must be missing something. I'm looking at 10 votes for an "answer" to this question, and yet it doesn't answer the question whatsoever. So if my question falls against this site, I apologize. That is not my intention. Please help me understand. Was my judge just uneducated? This question cannot be answer simply by claiming the question is frivolous. That would be absurd. I think I need to make this point , I have successfully used this in court, and it's a good thing that we all can because some judges (1 in particular) would stoop so low as to say neither "the United States Constitution nor the Supreme Court rulings matter in court since California is not a state". When in fact The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution Under the Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, both the Constitution and federal law supersede state laws.

The Federal law being applied is the United States code definition of Motor Vehicle, what shows that the state laws are in direct conflict with the Constitution and the federal laws. And no State can take a right and turn it into a crime and issue a license and a fee for it. In a sense saying that you can have your right if you pay us for it. That would not be a right. A couple other important points that may clear up some " answers ". When the case is called, I tell the judge I am here in propria persona speaking for the named defendant, all I say is for the record and I invoke art. 4 sec. 4 of the Constitution which guarantees me a Republican form of Government. Im not a US Citizen but an American National (non statutory citizen) and I set my court. When I asked him if it was civil or criminal, he said "you tell me". I said it can't be either since there is no injured party and no contract. I believe that locks the court up. They cant throw statutory at me because there is no written rule for a criminal case thats statutory jurisdiction and so I couldnt have a fair trial. Also by using the Constitution and Supreme Court cases that say I have the right of motion /travel then I would have a perfect case for willfulness. Immunity. Failure to show a cause of action in which relief could be granted. As far as I can see, all the rules I am using are theirs.

The right of the citizen to travel upon the highway and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus." State vs. City of Spokane, 186 P. 864. What is this Right of the Citizen which differs so "radically and obviously" from one who uses the highway as a place of business? Who better to enlighten us than Justice Tolman of the Supreme Court of Washington State? In State vs. City of Spokane, supra, the Court also noted a very "radical and obvious" difference, but went on to explain just what the difference is: "The former is the usual and ordinary right of the Citizen, a common right to all, while the latter is special, unusual, and extraordinary."

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    The title of your post is inconsistent with your description. Arguing on the basis of federal law does not mean you are making up your own rules. Also, you might want to give specifics and statutes because it is unclear --at least to me-- how the sovereignty issue is at stake in a traffic violation and how exactly you intend to apply federal law in the matter. Mar 1, 2021 at 12:18
  • I read your profile. You are exactly the "person" (sorry) I need to figure out my problem of why my answers , although long, are pulled and deleted and even being told to take meds ??? I have made changes to the question. Mar 1, 2021 at 12:58
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    This seems to be more of a rant about the site which, if OP can calm down, belongs in meta. Mar 1, 2021 at 13:59
  • You mention that you have used federal law effectively - can you give an example? Mar 1, 2021 at 23:47
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    If this is not meant to be a rant, try trimming out all the commentary and just asking a question.
    – bdb484
    Mar 9, 2021 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


It is true that in the US, valid Federal law supersedes state law or regulation when there is a conflict. Precisely because of this, state laws and regulations are normally carefully written to avoid such conflicts.

It is very unusual for a federal law issue to apply in traffic court. The question does not say what Federal law issue you think will apply to your case. Most issues where Federal law might plausibly affect a state court process, such as a fourth amendment violation on a search and seizure issue, would not apply in traffic court, although they might apply in a criminal court proceeding. Federal law does not generally deal with traffic issues, nor does it preempt state traffic laws, because there is normally no conflict.

There is a group of people, who often call themselves "sovereign citizens" who have a habit of making wildly invalid legal claims, and trying to claim that much of the law does not apply to them. Such people often assert elaborate theories about why certain laws do not apply, not infrequently involving the Federal Supremacy Clause. Such claims are invalid, and will not be received well by a court. A claim that one travels by "conveyance" rather than by "car" and thus state laws do not apply is such an invalid claim.

The argument made in this answer is such an invalid claim. Chapter 18 of the US code does regulate commercial vehicles to some extent. Therefore in that chapter "motor vehicle" does mean "commercial vehicle" because those federal regulations do not apply to private vehicles. This does not mean that state regulations that apply to private vehicles are preempted or otherwise invalid.

If you think a Federal Issue will apply during a traffic court session, it would be wise to consult a lawyer in advance. Many lawyers offer free or low-cost initial consultations.

If you think a relevant legal issue is not being addressed, politely, briefly, and clearly explain the issue that you think applies. Do not yell at the judge or other court personnel. Do not try to "make up your own rules". You will be given a chance to indicate your side of the issue.

Response to recent edit, and related comments

Without a record of the actual court hearing you describe, there is no way to determine if the judge was acting correctly or not. Even with the record there might well be no way to determine what the judge had in mind, or why s/he acted as s/he did.

I maintain that any argument that state traffic codes are in fact preempted by federal law, or apply only to commercial vehicles, or that an ordinary personal car is not a "motor vehicle" because of a definition in Blacks or any other dictionary, is legally unsound and frivolous, and could well subject a person who makes it in court to penalties for contempt. A particular judge might not want to bother with the matter, of course.

I think i have answered the question as asked, in a way likely to be most helpful to people in general. Others may have other views.

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    Even if federal issues do apply, the traffic court could have a rule that if such arguments are to be raised, the case must be brought in, or appealed to, a different court. This would make sense so that the streamlined traffic court need only handle simple cases. Mar 1, 2021 at 13:46
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    @NateEldredge It could, but it almost never does. There are federal law defenses that could conceivably apply and routinely are applied in traffic court (most commonly, in certain cities, diplomatic immunity).
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 1, 2021 at 19:42
  • Believe it or not it is really simple and effective. If you look at all definitions in Blacks Law or whichever you choose, "legal dictionary" you will find that "driver", "traffic", "passenger", "carrier",,,, all belong in commerce. Mar 3, 2021 at 4:46
  • See my edit as it may help. Mar 3, 2021 at 18:14
  • The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution Under the Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, both the Constitution and federal law supersede state laws. Mar 10, 2021 at 17:39

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