Sunday, January 20, 2008

Montana to DHS: F@%! Real ID

The newest sagebrush rebellion of sorts:

Montana governor Brian Schweitzer (D) declared independence Friday from federal identification rules and called on governors of 17 other states to join him in forcing a showdown with the federal government which says it will not accept the driver's licenses of rebel states' citizens starting May 11.

If that showdown comes to pass, a resident of a non-complying state could not use a driver's license to enter a federal courthouse or a Social Security Administration building nor could he board a plane without undergoing a pat-down search, possibly creating massive backlogs at the nation's airports and almost certainly leading to a flurry of federal lawsuits.

States have until May 11 to request extensions to the Real ID rules that were released last Friday. They require states to make all current identification holders under the age of 50 to apply again with certified birth and marriage certificates. The rules also standardize license formats, require states to interlink their DMV databases and require DMV employee to undergo background checks.

[snip]

Last year Montana passed a law saying it would not comply, citing privacy, states' rights and fiscal issues.

In his letter (.pdf) to other governors, Schweitzer makes clear he's not going to ask for an extension.

"Today, I am asking you to join with me in resisting the DHS coercion to comply with the provisions of REAL ID, " Schweitzer wrote. "If we stand together either DHS will blink or Congress will have to act to avoid havoc at our nation's airports and federal courthouses."

[snip]

Privacy groups counter that the rules create a de-facto national identification card and won't stop terrorism or identity theft.

For his part, Schweitzer struck back at DHS statements he obviously considers arrogant.

"I take great offense at this notion we should all simply 'grow up'," Schweitzer wrote, referring to Thursday remarks from DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff about border rules regarding Canada. Schweitzer says those remarks "reflect DHS (sic) continued disrespect for the serious and legitimate concerns of our citizens."

A DHS policy maker suggested earlier this week that Real IDs could also be required to buy cold medicine and to prove employment eligibility.

Schweitzer's letter went out to the governors of Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.

The states listed at the end are the ones besides Montana that have refused to comply with the latest unfunded mandate to come from the Feds. The whole Real ID thing comes across as yet another step down the path to a National Security State, and we've gone way too far down that road as it is over the last decade or two. As to be expected, the Feds have been completely dismissive and elitist in their approach to those dissenting states, going so far as to threaten us with collective punishment for not being good little Germans.

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