The New York Civil Liberties Union has issued an impressive report calling for the repeal of the REAL ID Act.
â€śNo Freedom Without Privacy: The REAL ID Actâ€™s Assault on Americansâ€™ Everyday Lifeâ€ť is a thorough look at the federal governmentâ€™s national ID law, which states have refused to implement.
Less than a year ago, when it was clear that no state would be in compliance with the national ID law by the May 2008 deadline, then-DHS secretary Michael Chertoff granted waivers until December of this year, even to states that have statutorily barred themselves from complying. One of those states was South Carolina, whose governor Mark Sanford (R) has been a leading REAL ID opponent. The report cites him favorably for that.
Last year, bills to repeal the national ID law were introduced in both the Senate and House. With President Bush sure to veto, and Secretary Chertoff sure to demagogue a REAL ID repeal, the bills did not move. The political dynamics have changed since then, of course.
â€śThough the Real ID Act is not a household name,â€ť the report says, â€śit is a central component of the Bush Administrationâ€™s assault on Americansâ€™ liberty and privacy rights, and one that if not repealed now would forever change the fabric of American life.â€ť
In its finite wisdom, the federal government often doubles down on bad policies, but the REAL ID Act is ripe for repeal. The law canâ€™t be fixed, and there is no such thing as an acceptable national ID card.