With so much in the news about Habeas Corpus in recent years, I write this brief essay about the royal common law writs and their applicability to urban planners and anarchists in general. The royal, extraordinary writs, before the U.S. broke from England, they were writs issued by the king or queen when you petitioned for them. If you were in a situation in which you were not obtaining justice, you could ask the sovereign (the king or queen) to use their ruling powers to direct the lower powers to expedite justice.
After the U.S. revolution in the late 1700s though, the sovereignty devolved upon the people with none to rule but themselves. That is where the libertarian principle comes from that “The state or government cannot tell me what to do, for the overarching principle of the common law is that if I’m not hurting anyone else’s freedom and sovereignty by my actions, then I can do whatever I want.” Accompanying these principles is the concept that “As the ruler of my life and property, if someone tramples on my freedom and sovereignty of life and property, then as the sovereign/ruler of my life and possessions, I will do whatever I see fit to remedy the situation.” From this comes the legal scenario that if someone comes on to your property without permission, then you can take whatever action you see fit to remedy the situation — such as ‘All trespassers will be shot on site’ -- you own the property and thus you are the ruler of it.
Likewise, when in court, or for anything from fighting running a red light, to fighting a ticket for violating a zoning law, to battling the federal government for selling marijuana, if you have actually not hurt anyone else or their property by your actions, then you can invoke the common law and use the following extraordinary writs to challenge the federal, state, or local government’s sovereignty to prosecute you, because you are technically the ruler, not them. We allow the civil system to exist to direct how government operates in its policies, but any of us people can invoke the common law at any time to supercede that civil system whenever we so choose.
“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” [California Government Code, Sections 11120 and 54950.]
“The people of this State, as the successors of its former sovereign, are entitled to all the rights which formerly belonged to the King by his prerogative.” [Lansing v. Smith, 4 Wend. 9 (N.Y.) (1829), 21 Am.Dec. 89 10C Const. Law Sec. 298; 18 C Em.Dom. Sec. 3, 228; 37 C Nav.Wat. Sec. 219; Nuls Sec. 167; 48 C Wharves Sec. 3, 7.]
“To presume that a sovereign forever waives the right to exercise one of its powers unless it expressly reserves the right to exercise that power in a commercial agreement turns the concept of sovereignty on its head.” [Merrion et al., DBA Merrion & Bayless, et al. v. Jicarilla Apache Tribe et al. (1982) 455 U.S. 130, 102 S. Ct. 894, 71 L. Ed. 2d 21, 50 U.S.L.W. 4169 pp. 144_148]
“The ordinary King’s Court ... exercised a jurisdiction limited in fact only by the king’s will” and “it had unlimited jurisdiction” [Common-Law Pleading and Practice: Its History and Principles, by R. Ross Perry, p.139 & 28]
“The very meaning of ‘sovereignty’ is that the decree of the sovereign makes law.” [American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 29 S.Ct. 511, 513, 213 U.S. 347, 53 L.Ed. 826, 19 Ann.Cas. 1047.]
The common law is the actual law, not the civil system.
I know that’s a lot to wrap one’s head around, so for this article, I will just go over the writs. Most people have heard of Habeas Corpus (one of the extraordinary royal writs), but the others are less known.
To give a brief example of the extraordinary royal writs, let us look at Habeas Corpus itself. At common law, you are the court, not the civil court judge (see A Report on Civil and Common Law, p.602); a court is “The person and suit of the sovereign; the place where the sovereign sojourns ... wherever that may be.” [Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, page 425.] As such, when you are thrown into prison and held indefinitely without charges, you can use this writ to command your captors to pull you out of prison and into a formal court setting and for formal charges to be brought against you. Writs are issued by you orally or in written form, it does not matter, the writ is issued out of your court, wherever you happen to be -- even in prison.
The reason there was an uproar about Habeas Corpus being denied, is because it’s part of the common law which is the ACTUAL law. That’s why it was such a big deal in the news. Most people in the left who are so into “civil” rights don’t fully grasp this. The civil law is what the left clings to to give government bigger teeth in the form of policy. The common law is what the right clings to to give them their personal freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Okay, the writs (from Common_Law Pleading and Practice: Its History and Principles, by R. Ross Perry – of the bar of the District of Columbia, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1897, p.102-107, 222). It’s important to remember as you read this that common law texts, such as the one below, are typically written to explain the common law and how it occurred before the U.S. revolution and in the king’s court then, this is done so that you can implement them in a similar manner now in your sovereign court:
One must remember that you are the one issuing these at common law. There are some statutes that let you appeal for some these writs to be granted to you by the state, but that’s only if you wish to function at civil law. When issuing these at common law (which you don’t need to state, it’s assumed -- though unfortunately not all magistrates at the local level know common law) the state must acknowledge it and follow what you command because you own the state.
In anarchy though, there is no state and no property, in the meantime, a tool to help dissolve them may be to use the common law.
The writ you would want to use if you want to challenge a local government’s zoning law would be the Writ of Quo Warrento, which is a jurisdictional challenge. As a sovereign, issuing a royal writ out of your sovereign court to them, the state or local government – they have no jurisdiction. It essentially says, “I’ve hurt no one by my actions, and if I perhaps have, then leave me alone and let those who I have hurt come and bring their royal court against me.”
None of this should be taken as legal advice.