U.S. Government Threatens Retaliation Against States who Reject REAL ID
REAL ID is the U.S. government plan to impose uniform regulations on state driver’s licenses. It’s a national ID card, in all but cosmetic form. (Here is my essay on the security costs and benefits. These two sites are also good resources.)
Most states hate it: 17 have passed legislation rejecting REAL ID, and many others have such legislation somewhere in process. Now it looks like the federal government is upping the ante, and threatening retaliation against those states that don’t implement REAL ID:
The cards would be mandatory for all “federal purposes,” which include boarding an airplane or walking into a federal building, nuclear facility or national park, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the National Conference of State Legislatures last week. Citizens in states that don’t comply with the new rules will have to use passports for federal purposes.
This sounds tough, but it’s a lot of bluster. The states that have passed anti-REAL-ID legislation lean both Republican and Democrat. The federal government just can’t say that citizens of—for example—Georgia (which passed a bill in May authorizing the Governor to delay implementation of REAL ID) can’t walk into a federal courthouse without a passport. Or can’t board an airplane without a passport—imagine the lobbying by Delta Airlines here. They just can’t.