Exploring the Myth – Sovereign Citizens – Murdock v Penn

Murdock v. Penn., 319 US 105, (1943) “No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it.”

Check out the ruling and tell me where this quote is found?

Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 US 105 – Supreme Court 1943

The case involves Jehova Witnesses who filed a lawsuit for having to pay a licensing fee to distribute their literature door to door.

The court did find that there are instances where adding a license fee may be permissible.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are not “above the law.” But the present ordinance is not directed to the problems with which the police power of the state is free to deal. It does not cover, and petitioners are not charged with, breaches of the peace. They are pursuing their solicitations peacefully and quietly. Petitioners, moreover, are not charged with or prosecuted for the use of language which is obscene, abusive, or which incites retaliation. Cf. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra. Nor do we have here, as we did in Cox v. New Hampshire, supra, and Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, state regulation of the streets to protect and insure the safety, comfort, or convenience of the public. Furthermore, the present ordinance is not narrowly drawn to safeguard the people of the community in their homes against the evils of solicitations. See Cantwell v. Connecticut, supra, 306. As we have said, it is not merely a registration ordinance calling for an identification of the solicitors so as to give the authorities some basis for investigating strangers coming into the community. And the fee is not a nominal one, imposed as a regulatory measure and calculated to defray the expense of protecting those on the streets and at home against the abuses of solicitors.

To show a more up to date position of the Supreme Court, read the review in Kwong v. Bloomberg, 723 F. 3d 160 – Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 2013

In the First Amendment context, the Supreme Court has held that governmental entities may impose licensing fees relating to the exercise of constitutional rights when the fees are designed “to meet the expense incident to the administration of the [licensing statute] and to the maintenance of public order in the matter licensed.” Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569, 577, 61 S.Ct. 762, 85 L.Ed. 1049 (1941) (quotation marks omitted). Put another way, imposing fees on the exercise of constitutional rights is permissible when the fees are designed to defray (and do not exceed) the administrative costs of regulating the protected activity. E. Conn. Citizens Action Grp. v. Powers, 723 F.2d 1050, 166*166 1056 (2d Cir.1983) (“Licensing fees used to defray administrative expenses are permissible, but only to the extent necessary for that purpose.”); see Int’l Women’s Day March Planning Comm. v. City of San Antonio, 619 F.3d 346, 370 (5th Cir.2010); Nat’l Awareness Found. v. Abrams, 50 F.3d 1159, 1165 (2d Cir.1995) (“Thus, fees that serve not as revenue taxes, but rather as means to meet the expenses incident to the administration of a regulation and to the maintenance of public order in the matter regulated are constitutionally permissible.”);[10] see also Selevan v. N.Y. Thruway Auth., 711 F.3d 253, 259-61 (2d Cir.2013) (upholding a toll bridge fee as “constitutional[ly] permissib[le]” in the “right to travel” context); cf. Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, 113-14, 63 S.Ct. 870, 87 L.Ed. 1292 (1943) (striking down a license tax that was “not a nominal fee imposed as a regulatory measure to defray the expenses of policing the activities in question”).[11]