Here we go again.  Another Real ID “deadline” from the Department of Homeland Security has been looming over states like a black cloud.  The deadline for everyone to comply with the federal act? January 15, 2013.  And “this time,” the DHS was serious about it.

The end result, though, is the same as it has been the last few times.  As they’ve done every other time, the deadline has been “postponed” because states refused to comply.

The feds huff and puff, and threaten and warn.  But DHS isn’t much more than a little doggie with a big bark.  State nullification has bite.


In 2005, George Bush and the republicans gave us the REAL ID Act, a blatantly unconstitutional national ID card program.  It was set to be implemented in on May 11, 2008.  The law stated that “a federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver’s license or identification card issued by a State … unless the State is meeting the requirements of this section.” That meant that in 2008, states were going to have to issue REAL ID-compliant, national-ID drivers licenses.

But, lo and behold, a number of states passed laws and resolutions rejecting the federal act.  New Hampshire, Maine, Utah and others – all made it clear they opposed it.  By 2009, half the states in the country would say “NO” to REAL ID.

And Montana became the first state in modern times to pass a bill that expressly nullified a federal act.  It passed both houses unanimously and was signed by Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer.

DHS saw the writing on the wall.  Months before the initial deadline, they knew that almost no one was going to be in compliance.  So DHS started asking the states to request deadlines.  When the March 31, 2008 deadline for extension requests came, several states didn’t even ask for one. Montana notified DHS that it was not going to comply with the REAL ID Act, ever.

The feds, of course, had to put on a show.  As the deadline came near, DHS issued warnings.  Montana seemed to be getting the most heat about it.  People supposedly wouldn’t be able to open a bank account, or enter a federal building (that’s a blessing in disguise, maybe), or get on an airplane.  Was the Bush administration warning of a no-fly zone over Montana?  It sure seemed that way at the time.

But, cooler heads and stronger backbones prevailed.  When Schweitzer was asked on NPR his view of the Federal Act, and threats to the people living in his state, he said the following:

“Well, we are putting up with the federal government on so many fronts, and nearly every month they come out with another harebrained scheme, an unfunded mandate to tell us that our life is going to be better if we’ll just buckle under on some other kind of rule or regulation. And we usually just play along for a while, we ignore them for as long as we can, and we try not to bring it to a head. But if it comes to a head, we found that it’s best to just tell them to go to hell and run the state the way we want to run our state.” [emphasis added]

With strong state resistance, the feds had no way to implement their so-called law.  A new deadline was set. States had to comply or request another extension by the end of 2009.   By late that year, a number of states refused to even request the 2nd extension.  At the end of December that year, they delayed the deadline again, “until further notice.”

March, 2011 was the new target date to compel states to comply with the Real ID act.  With barely a peep, the deadline was quietly extended once again, to our latest, January 15, 2013.


Over the past month or so, people have been getting warned, informed of the looming deadline, told how they won’t be able to board a plane, and more.  But, with just over a dozen states in compliance, the feds know there’s nothing they can do.

So while advisories have been issued, and warnings sent out.  It’s all just a big huff and puff show, because once-again, the feds have backed down.  In their latest spin/press release, DHS said the following:

On December 20, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined that thirteen states have met the standards of the REAL ID Act of 2005 (“Act”) for driver’s licenses and identification cards and has granted a temporary deferment for all other states and territories.”    And in a related statement, “DHS expects to publish a schedule by early fall 2013 and begin implementation at a suitable date thereafter.” [emphasis added]

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A “temporary deferment” to a “suitable date thereafter” from an unconstitutional federal agency on an unconstitutional federal act that they haven’t been able to implement for nearly 5 years now?

Yeah, I’ll take that. Those DHS piggies can huff and puff all they want. Nullification wins.


Get involved in a nullification effort in your area. Whether it’s NDAA, TSA, ACA or anything in between, you can make a difference.

Michael Boldin