State resistance to REAL ID is growing. The Associated Press reports from New Hampshire:
The New Hampshire Legislature took a baby step Tuesday toward rejecting what they say amounts to the creation of a national ID card.
The House Transportation Committee voted unanimously to recommend barring the state from complying with the federal REAL ID Act, which sets standards for driver’s licenses. The full House next considers the bill.
REAL ID, Passed in 2005 and due to take effect in 2008-9, turns your driver’s license into a de-facto national ID card. This is yet another step towards a totalitarian police state in America.
The Act mandates that all driver’s licenses carry the same information, no matter what state issues them. The states must also “provide electronic access to all other States to information contained in the motor vehicle database of the State.” In other words, your information will be in a national database that puts everything at the Feds’ fingertips.
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security is given the power to require “biometric” information on these licenses/ID’s in the future. This means that what appears to be a harmless-looking driver’s license could eventually contain a retina scan, fingerprints, DNA information, or radio frequency technology. We don’t know just what right now because REAL ID keeps this power open-ended. DHS will tell us…someday.
All this is supposed to help us fight terrorism, somehow, because the nineteen 9-11 hijackers had driver’s licenses. In order to be “safe” you’ll soon be required to have the proper “papers.”
Any refusal to comply by the States will mean that their residents will lose the ability to get on a plane, receive social security, and potentially, to get a bank account or a job. So, the feds are doing little more than blackmailing them into compliance and submission.
Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound legal, does it? First, a little constitutional background.
The US Constitution was written under what’s referred to as “positive grant.” This means that the Federal Government can only exercise powers that are specifically given to it by the Constitution – nothing more. This is where the Tenth Amendment comes into play – reaffirming positive grant:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Pretty simple, right? Right. If a power isn’t delegated to the U.S. government by the Constitution, then that power belongs to the States or the People. It seems that the only people who could possibly confuse this one sentence are politicians, lawyers, and federal judges.
It’s worth repeating. If a power isn’t specifically listed in the Constitution, the feds can’t do it. Period.
As New Hampshire representative Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) said:
“We have to uphold the constitution,” he said. “We will not be blackmailed by the federal government.”
Sherman, you’ve hit the nail on the head! Obviously he’s read the Constitution. There’s not a single thing mentioned about ID’s, or licenses, or driving, or funding the states, or anything of the like. What does that mean? You’ve got it – it’s unconstitutional (against the law!) for the federal government to get involved in these things.
But, you might say, the Constitution is outdated! There were no driver’s licenses when the constitution was written – there were no cars! Right. There were no such things. But that doesn’t mean the law is “outdated” or bad.
In fact, the idea of strictly limiting the federal government is as good of an idea today as it was two centuries ago. Why? All you need to do is pay attention to what’s going on in our country right now. If you don’t keep the government in check, as many of the founders warned, governments will always grow and grow into a despotic beast.
Today, the government is larger than ever. Has that correlated with a better adherence to the law? Not at all.
Size of government notwithstanding, REAL ID is still unconstitutional. It doesn’t matter if the politicians think that it’s absolutely necessary. It doesn’t matter if they think the Constitution is outdated. None of it matters. The Law is the Law. The only legal way to approach this is through a Constitutional Amendment, and not by ignoring or violating the Constitution.
If the politicians were so confident that this program was necessary, and that We the People would approve of it, they would have presented it as a constitutional amendment. Instead, debate was light, and the bill was added to another, which passed 100-0 in the Senate.
It seems that abiding by the Constitution is pretty rare. Instead, addendums, riders, and backroom deals are the way of politics in Washington.
Think about that. Do you want to live in a society where the government has to follow the rules, or do you want to live in a society where politicians follow only the laws that they like?
Federal standards for identification are not authorized by the Constitution. It doesn’t matter whether they’re enforced through “laws” or economic “incentives” to the States. The politicians, by trying to force this on us without amending the Constitution to allow it, are showing utter contempt for states’ rights and the principles of the Tenth Amendment.
Bottom line: REAL ID violates the Constitution.
Legislators in New Hampshire (and elsewhere) should be applauded for their courageous opposition to this unconstitutional nightmare.
Long live the resistance!