Kudos to the Maine Legislature! InformationWeek Reports:
Legislators in Maine have refused to implement the Real ID Act and are calling on Congress to repeal it.
The Maine Senate and House of Representatives passed a joint resolution Thursday demanding the repeal of the law and announcing they were the first state lawmakers in the country to do so. The resolution states that the Real ID Act of 2005 would place an unfair financial burden on states, threatens privacy, and leaves citizens vulnerable to identity theft. It also states that the law, scheduled to take effect next year, fails to accomplish its mission of improving security.
The first thing to note is that Real ID, in practice, federalizes the driver’s license, which, under the limitations of the Tenth Amendment, has been a province of the states. It’s been this way since 1908 – when Rhode Island passed the first law in regards to driver’s licenses.
Without a doubt, REAL ID turns state departments of motor vehicles into delegates of the federal government. Making national “standards” for driver’s licenses creates a national ID system – nothing more and nothing less. Having your home state put its name on it is little more than an inconsequential smoke screen.
The REAL ID establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated database of information about American citizens – information that is highly personal – including physical characteristice, residence, social security number, date of birth and name.
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security, a dubious federal office at best, is given the open-ended power to require biometric information on these licenses/ID’s in the future.
Remember, it’s not the the abuse of power that’s of the greatest concern, it’s the power to abuse! Once an open-ended power to do something sometime “in the future” is given – it’s nearly assured that some politician will eventually come along and abuse it to their advantage. The power to require biometric information on a federalized identification card leaves many dangerous possibilities open.
While the individual states are not technically forced to accept these standards, any refusal to comply will mean that their residents will lose the ability to get on a plane, receive social security, and potentially, to get a job.
So instead of creating a direct mandate on the states, the feds are blackmailing them into compliance and submission. Only in government is such activity legal. If you were openly engaging in blackmail, you’d probably be hauled off to jail in handcuffs. But that doesn’t happen to the politicians who make up the federal government.
The saddest part about the REAL ID act is that the Constitution was written to prohibit the federal government from exercising such power – direct, or implied. The long-forgotten 10th Amendment is clear. It states that powers not explicitly delegated to the Feds are reserved to the states or to the people.
Federal standards for drivers’ licenses – whether enforced through “law” or economic “incentives” (bribery) – show utter contempt for states’ rights and the principles of the Tenth Amendment.
Bottom line: REAL ID violates the 10th Amendment, which severely limits federal power. For now, though, REAL ID resistance must continue. As Maine Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Mitchell stated:
“The federal government may be willing to burden us with the high costs of a program that will do nothing to make us safer, but it is our job as state legislators to protect the people of Maine from just this sort of dangerous federal mandate. I am proud that this state has led the way in taking a stand against Real ID.”
More people and more states must stand up to the federal government and say no!