California v. Buzard

PETITIONER: California
LOCATION: General Petroleum Corporation

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)

CITATION: 382 US 386 (1966)
ARGUED: Nov 16, 1965
DECIDED: Jan 18, 1966

Facts of the case


Media for California v. Buzard

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 16, 1965 in California v. Buzard

Earl Warren:

Number 40, California, Petitioner, versus Lyman E. Buzard.

Ms. Maier.

Doris H. Maier:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

The question presented in this case which is a companion case to snap is whether a nonresident serviceman having a permanent duty station in California is authorized to operate his motor vehicle on California highways without the payment of the California fees when he has paid no fees to his resident state but the privilege of operating this vehicle.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, and he didn't play them, there was residence state because there was no such fee required or --

Doris H. Maier:


Your Honor, the California Court, the Supreme Court answered this question in the affirmative basing its decision on the provisions that Section 574 subdivision 2 in finding that the fee in the State of Washington was not required until he drove on the highways.

They so interpreted the word “require” to mean that it was not.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, that's not what I'm trying to get at.

This is a case where the whole state is California wants to get the registration fees -- is this the registration fee or a license --

Doris H. Maier:

This is so.

There is no separate registration fee as registration and license (Voice Overlap) --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

But they want to get it because they say the State of Washington under its law even though the State of Washington could not get it since he wasn't driving the car inside Washington, is that it?

Doris H. Maier:

That is correct.

Now, --

Earl Warren:

Had the -- had the captain taken out of the license in any state Ms. Maier?

Doris H. Maier:


If I will give you the factors Your Honor --

Earl Warren:

Very well.

Doris H. Maier:

-- now you'll take out the license in Alabama.

Captain Buzard in 1957 was recalled to active duty with the Air Force, he was a resident of the State of Washington.

He was assigned as a permanent duty station as his duty station to Castle Air Force Base in California.

In September of 1959, he was then held to an office -- squadron offices training school in Alabama for temporary duty.

While in Alabama, he purchased a demonstrative car on which the license and fees have been paid.

The license plates there were valid until September of 1960.

At the completion of his temporary duty at the end of December in 1959, he drove this car back to California.

Early or rather late in February of 1960, he was stopped by the California Highway Patrol rejecting out of state licenses.

They questioned him about this Alabama license.

He then went to the Motor Vehicle Department in California to discuss registration and payment of the fees.

Earl Warren:

Then what he --