The battle between the States and the Federal Government over REAL ID will continue on another two years, as the Federal Government prolongs implementation once more. The controversial law, passed in 2005, took unconstitutional steps to compel the States to conform to their standards in regards to driver’s licenses and identification cards. Introduced by U.S. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), it failed to go through and only met success when attached as a rider to the bill, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005. Rep. Sensenbrenner is also the sponsor of the controversial and unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which was introduced in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Maine Legislature under Democratic control, led the way for America in a resistance that would include over half of the country, by calling for the repeal of the bill. A bill that would not allow Maine to participate in a national identification card system was introduced by former State Representative Scott Lansley (R-Sabattus) and would become law. Both the Resolution and the Bill had overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans, who came together in a bipartisan effort to stand up for rights of Mainers.
As other States pressed forward, the Federal Government announced that the deadline would be extended two years in the hopes the States’ might fold under the pressure. A year later, another two-year extension came. Now this year, we have another two year extension going into effect. How many times will the Federal Government extend this unconstitutional piece of legislation before they admit that it is a dead bill?
Although Maine would back off under the pressure of the Federal Government, the State has recently reentered the fight. State Representative Ben Chipman (I-Portland), has introduced a bill that would nullify parts of REAL ID. It currently holds bipartisan support, with both Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.
While the Legislators here understand the implications of the controversial legislation, Congress is still on a different page. Elected to a majority as they rode the “Tea Party” wave, boasting support for the Constitution, the Republican leadership again is suggesting they stand for otherwise.
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Vista) blasted the decision, stating “we have a situation where we know we can take meaningful action to make the American people safer, yet for some reason, the president wants to delay that action. I can’t for the life of me understand why.”
U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach) joined his colleague, adding that ”delaying the deadline to comply with Real ID threatens our national security. The administration is demonstrating, yet again, that enforcing our immigration laws is not its priority.”
Their Republican colleague from Texas, Lamar Smith, joined the echoes, stating “the timing for such a delay is worse than ever. The administration should not prolong Real ID implementation. By doing so, they disregard the law of the land. Delaying Real ID unnecessarily places Americans’ lives at risk and threatens national security.”
As the tongues of Congress lash out, one must wonder where the talk of the Constitution has gone and why it has left so fast.
The battle wages on for the Tenth Amendment and Rep. Chipman will be leading the way for Maine against REAL ID, one of the many threats to the constitutional rights of the States and privacy of citizens everywhere.