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Maine Rejects Federally Mandated ID Cards 621

WebHostingGuy writes "The State of Maine rejected the federally mandated ID cards passed by Congress. In a non-partisan vote the legislature flatly stated that they would not force its citizens to use driver's licenses that comply with digital ID standards, which were established under the 2005 Real ID Act. It also asked Congress to repeal the law."
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Maine Rejects Federally Mandated ID Cards

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  • Money over privacy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by adamstew ( 909658 ) * on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:14AM (#17763638)
    The article made it sound like that all the legislature cared about was the money it would cost to implement the national ID, and that they didn't care about any of the privacy issues.
  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:18AM (#17763684)
    Nothing, except the federal government doesn't have the authority to enforce the law. The state of Maine refuses to comply not because they disagree with the law, but because they don't recognize the authority of the federal legislature to create such a law, nor of the executive to enforce it. Kinda like a trademark, jurisdiction in a case law precedent system like ours is 'use it or lose it'.

    With the Interstate Highway System, the feds provided money to states that wanted it and they could make very good cases for national defense.

    With social security, the federal government issues the numbers and the cards. It's wholly a federal matter.

    This law is instructing all states to comply with an arbitrary standard. They can't compel the states to do that. They must dangle money as a request.
  • by Soloact ( 805735 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:20AM (#17763714) Homepage Journal
    Requiring a National ID "to fight terrorism" is like punishing everyone for the offense of one. Many corporations are like that, the military is like that, and too many governments are adopting that practise. One person (or a small number) does something wrong, and suddenly there are procedures made that everyone must follow "to prevent the acts" of the few (look at the airports).
    How about punishing those who commit the offenses in such a way as to eliminate the desire of those, who would follow them, to commit the offense?
    In the USA, States need to fight for the States' Rights as Maine just did, and as Wisconsin did by outlawing mandatory chipping of people.
    This "pervasive" form of governing, or ruling, seems to becoming more and more "invasive". Some would argue, "...if you have nothing to hide, then what are you afraid of?" , of which my argument is, "I am a good civilian, so leave me alone."
    Of course, all of my comments are IMHO.
  • by COredneck ( 598733 ) * on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:24AM (#17763772)
    If Congress refuses to significantly change the Real ID Act, then rebellion is the way to make it fail. The Act is built on a flimsy deck of cards. If a few of the most populated states like CA, NY, IL, MI, TX decide to blow it off. The Federal Gov't would be in a bind. On one hand, if they enforce it, it will kill the airline industry. On the other hand, if they don't enforce it, they are disobeying the law that Congress passed.

    It needs to be completely repealed. It was passed without discussion, without debate. It became law as a "rider" on a must-pass piece of legislation. With the Democrat Congress, its demise is more likely. We should contact Contact Congress [visi.com] and ask the law be repealed completely concerning the driver's license provisions.
  • by Nutty_Irishman ( 729030 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:24AM (#17763774)

    A key Republican supporter of the Real ID Act said Thursday that the law was just as necessary now as when it was enacted as part of an $82 billion military spending and tsunami relief bill. (Its backers say it follows the recommendations that the 9/11 Commission made in 2004.)
    Ok, can someone explain to me how bills like these are grouped together (someone with the political knowhow not just knee-jerk "because america sucks" responses)? Seriously, besides saving time and being lazy, I fail to see why military spending and tsunami relief would be put into one bill. But bills like this happen all the time-- and usually it's much worse. I don't understand why there are no restrictions/oversight in place to monitor the grouping of bills.
  • by AlHunt ( 982887 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:28AM (#17763798) Homepage Journal

    The article made it sound like that all the legislature cared about was the money it would cost to implement the national ID, and that they didn't care about any of the privacy issues.
    Living here in Maine, let me assure you that privacy was discussed just as much as money. All your personal information; name, address, social security number, FINGERPRINT, all consolidated in one card and entered into a handy database for some shmuck to put on his government-supplied laptop to be stolen at Arby's.

    No, thanks. You're welcome, America. The rest of you get busy.

    The bitch is I JUST submitted this story before I found it here on the front page.
  • by AlHunt ( 982887 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:39AM (#17763918) Homepage Journal

    I thought we got rid of the Doctrine of Nullification after the civil war?
    Frankly? Tough. Real ID is just more federal nanny-state stuff hiding behind the skirts of "national security". That Maine has stood up to the feds and refused to be bullied into further eroding the privacy of it's citizens is a very positive development.

    Let's see the other 49 states stand up for themselves, too.

  • by jk379 ( 734476 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:39AM (#17763924)
    The law doesn't have a way to force Maine to comply as that's a states rights issues.

    What I predict will happen is that the Federal government will start by holding back the money that they would disperse to the state for highway dollars just like they have done for other measures. (The ones that come to mind is seat-belt and drunk driving laws but I know that there are others.). If holding back Federal highway funds they will find other funds not to give the state.
  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by guibaby ( 192136 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @12:57AM (#17764114)
    "Why not?" should never be the standard for anything that enhances government power and/or limits individual liberty. How does a national ID standard limit liberty any more that the existing standard set by the state of Maine or any of the other 49 states? How does an ID database with your name prevent you from doing anything that you can do today. (not to mention that you are already in a Federal database, probably several like Social Security, IRS and so on)

    I hate put on my pointy hat, but in this day and age anything that takes away one shred of my privacy, I don't want to do. It could also be argued that privacy=liberty.

    The standard should be "Why should we?". Because it will be harder for Abu Mohammed to fake.

    I don't buy this argument. Given enough time and resources ANY document can be faked. And with a single ID standard, in order to update the protection scheme, I have to update 300,000,000 or so IDs

    And no, "We have to keep you safe." is not an adequate reason. Uh, yeah it is. We have speed limits to keep me safe. I have to wear a seatbelt to keep me safe. I can't drink and drive to keep me (and you) safe... How is this any different?

    I think you are mistaken here as well. The federally bribed speed limits were actually put in place to reduce pollution. Seatbelt laws are designed to save states money by reducing injuries for people who do not have insurance. DWI is a different story, there is a great potential to injure someone other than you self. They are not trying to protect you in this case. They are trying to protect people from you.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) * on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:10AM (#17764798) Homepage

    It'd be interesting to see a state respond by saying "OK, if the Federal government doesn't want to pay for it's Interstate highways, it can have them back. Oh, and it can also have back all responsibility for maintaining them, enforcing the laws on them, clearing snow off them in the winter, the lot. We wish them luck with it, and if anyone finds the conditions deteriorating they know where they can call the owners.".

  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:16AM (#17764856) Homepage

    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.
    Let's check out one way to read that, by choosing to delegate that power to the people:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the people.
    There we go. Now if the people [wikipedia.org] decide to give that power of theirs to the national government by electing politicians to the legislature who create Medicare (or whatever over program you want to call into question), then the federal government now has the power to do so.

    Believe it or not, the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power to perform judicial review. The Supreme Court is also not, strictly speaking, the ultimate authority on what the Constitution means (the Constitution never gives the Court this power). Both of those extremely important powers came from the Marshall Court in the early 1800s, with cases like Marbury v. Madison, and McCulloch v. Maryland.

    Literally, the Chief Justice wrote, "Hey, we have the power to do this now," and everyone else went, "OK, I guess you do." If you look at what was going on at the time Marshall wrote the McCollough v. Maryland opinion, it was at a time Congress was just about to tear itself apart. In my opinion, the way the opinion reads is Marshall grabbed some new power for himself and his court, and challenged anyone else to take it away, knowing full well that the Congress was in no position to challenge his authority, since they knew any fighting would destroy the nation.

    But that's just a theory. However, it does not remove the fact that the rationale I just used has been used since at least 1819 in the Supreme Court, and was even used by Founding Fathers in the 1790s to justify things.

    Thank God for Constitutional Law, we have been talking about this all week.
  • by uncreativ ( 793402 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @02:33AM (#17764996)
    Just like the federal government doesn't require the drinking age to be 21--they just won't release highway funds if a state doesn't have a 21 or older drinking age.

    Guess what happens. All the states set the same driking age....curious.

    It's a way to force states to behave a certain way when the federal government has no authority to make such a rule itself. If the federal government actually had the authority, it would have just passed the law requiring the ID standards without tying it to highway funding.

    If Maine wins, it could potentially undo all kinds of federal encroachment into areas it has no business to be in.

    A few years ago in Wisconsin--a bit of a beer state--the governor was considering lowering the drinking age for lower alocohol content drinks like beer and challenge the federal highway funding policies. Of course, then one of the UW campuses had a drunken riot in favor of lowering the drinking age--that killed that! Hmmm....maybe 21 is a better drinking age.
  • by barakn ( 641218 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:22AM (#17765310)
    ...would be some sort of RFID chip injected under the skin, or maybe something lower tech.. perhaps a serial number tattooed on the arm. We should make one of those standard.
  • by bar-agent ( 698856 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:01AM (#17765496)

    Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.

    That would make a nice ammendment to our Constitution, wouldn't it?
    It would indeed. Congress would never go for it, but luckily, they don't have to. If thirty-three states go for it, it's a proposed amendment, with or without Congress' blessing.

    I think I'll e-mail my Governor.
  • I just dont get it ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Europe ( 657225 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:24AM (#17765610)
    To me, as an European, the whole fight against Real-Id seems absurd. Without a national id-system I would be really worried that any neighbor guy could act as me ! The only problem I find in the Real-Id law is that the cards might be remote readable. And that could be solved with a metallic box for the card. Not that handiest idea, but the security brought with reliable identification is much more important. Ok there's another thing too: "The card may include 'a common machine-readable technology' that Homeland Security will decide on". Sounds too vague. The content should be decided beforehand.

    I'm not now talking about president Bush's ridiculous terrorist fíght. I'm talking about someone else using bank account or getting my private medical information. Or opening a bank account under my name and getting a big loan.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:05AM (#17765800)
    Were non terror related reason the cause, perhaps people might be less against it. The problem with this is it by definition dictates that anyone without an ID is immediatelly suspect, and would potentially be subject to arrest or questioning. That's the way these things have *always* gone in the past. That the Bush administration deny this will occur is beside the point, that is what these things are for, to monitor the movements and identity of the entire population, you can't gloss over the fact that this implies there are serious consequences for refusal to obey if it's required. Can they, in all truth, state that there will *never* be a US government that will abuse it?

    Not for nothing does the phrase 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' exist.

    Also, a large number of US citizens are there because their ancestors fled nations that mandated total control of the public, or segments of the population. That kind of history doesn't get forgotten easily. I'm in the UK, but my family are here because of just such an exodus. I personally intend to refuse to take part in any ID scheme here as well.

    Ok, so this may be over-reacting, but the fact is, this is a step too far for many people. National ID of this kind has scary implications, no matter the 'sensibleness' of the implementation.
  • Re:Drinking Age (Score:5, Interesting)

    by simm1701 ( 835424 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:51AM (#17765990)
    Speaking as someone who was an exchange student in the US (from the UK) the average american student gets to university, goes to a party, has large (for them) amounts of beer for the first time and cann't handle it.

    The average brit on the other hand has probably been drinking beer since about the age of 12 (younger if you count shandy) the amounts will have increased over the years, they have probably been really ill once on holiday and after enduring their parents laughing at them and talking very loudly the next morning they tend to have a much better idea when to stop.

    I remember one party where I drank 4 frat boys under the table - what was scarey was it was sequential not parallel!! But then the beer there is in 330ml cans and only 3 or 4 percent!! Me I'm a real ale person - 6-8% and in pints (yes it comes in pints) or yards...
  • Both Ways (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mark_MF-WN ( 678030 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:05AM (#17766628)
    It's funny ... other Canadians I know who have visited the UK come back with most, if not all, of the following:

    • A leprachaun-accent (I'm totally not kidding, I swear you've NEVER heard ANYTHING like it).
    • A taste for botox taken orally (aka: British pub food...)
    • A godlike alcohol-tolerance.

    In any case, Britain really does have some kind of a very different culture regarding alcohol. And that's speaking as a Canadian, a citizen of a country that's already pretty serious about its boozing (there are few things we love more than watching a visiting American tourist drink four Canadian beers and start puking their guts out ... other than watching them weep when they discover how shitty the conversion rate from the US dollar is these days...)

  • Dirigo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oudzeeman ( 684485 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:55AM (#17766932)
    Maine's motto is Dirogo, or "I lead". It's good to see my government living up to this once in a while.

    By the way, in 1839 the Governor of Maine decared war on England over a boundary dispute with New Brunswick. This was the only time a state has decared war on a foreign power. The conflict was settled before any blood was shed.

  • by theCoder ( 23772 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @08:57AM (#17766956) Homepage Journal
    Which is why all laws (even the most sane ones prohibiting theft and murder and such) need to have expiration dates. If every law needed to be renewed every 10 years or so, that would (a) get rid of the old laws no one cares about any more and (b) keep the lawmakers busy so they don't have time to make up new worthless laws, while at the same time making them look like they're doing something important to their constituents.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:01AM (#17766978) Journal
    It is slashdot. So most people are mouthing off against the ID cards and intrusive govt, lack of privacy and States' rights and all that. Step in to the real world, you will find people who:

    1. Frequent shopper cards from grocery stores so that they get 25cents off a loaf of bread. In return they let their grocery shop+pharmacy uniquely brand them with a number and track all their purchases, from birth control pills to diapers.

    2. Use credit cards even after they send them a year end profile of expenses, making it a no secret how much data they collect and retain

    3. are least bothered by the extensive data collection by their banks and their "partners" who pelt them with "new and exciting products".

    Come on guys. The private sector is a bigger threat to your privacy and well being than US Govt is. You have some semblance of control over US govt, whereas you have none over the private sector. The interests of US Govt coincides with the interests of people lot more than the interests of private sector overlapping the interests of people.

    But if you want mod points and build your karma, you have to blast the govt.

  • Re:Drinking Age (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Antimatter3009 ( 886953 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @09:24AM (#17767194)
    As an American who grew up in the Cayman Islands (where the drinking age is 18 and until recently was very lax) I have to agree with you. When I got to college in the US I didn't really feel the need to overdrink (either too much at once or too often), while a lot of people I met did. The best way to get people to not drink too much or do stupid things while drinking (ie drive) is for parents to expose them to what it's like before they get out and figure it out on their own.
  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jackbird ( 721605 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:10AM (#17767748)
    Make the requirements more rigid and uniform and you reduce the problem.

    Wait, I thought monocultures were bad for security...

  • by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:17AM (#17767870)
    Olympia Snowe is also considered to be the most powerful woman in congress in terms of influence. I had a nice chat with her one day waiting for a flight to DC in Portland. Her moderate stance is why, in a far-left "nanny and welfare" state, she keeps blowing away her democratic opponents with a 3 to 1 margin.
  • Re:Drinking Age (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rifter ( 147452 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @10:34AM (#17768100) Homepage

    Yup, just sock the brain with enough alcohol to knock out an elephant before its development is complete, and then you wonder how these half-naked fakirs [*] are overtaking your economy. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6294409.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    [*] before you mod me troll, that was what Sir Winston Churchill called a guy named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

    That is interesting indeed. I had been told by Indians that Gandhi was called the "nanga fakir" [mouthshut.com] which they said meant "naked fakir" [chowk.com] although the most naked he is ever depicted, unlike some ascetics, was to have his top half uncovered (basically like being shirtless, though he is usually shown wearing a type of robe). I did not know that this originated [wikipedia.org] as an insult by Churchill (of all people) but it did [time.com]. I guess it is similar to the New England colonists adopting the moniker "yankee" [wikipedia.org] which originated as a Dutch slur lobbed at them from New Amsterdam,and the later adoption of "Yankee Doodle" [wikipedia.org] as a fight song after British soldiers used it to mock those colonists in the Revolution.

    It does look like it is not too late for others to get in on the act of mocking Gandhi [], if even in jest.

    Still, I think it is disengenuous to refer to the Indians who are "taking our jobs" as "naked fakirs." After all the reason they are able to do your job so well is partly due to the fact that in addition to the Indian appreciation for education they also have learned to appreciate certain aspects of European and American culture; you'll find that most of them are for lack of a better term very much westernized, and certainly modern. They are thoroughly Indian as they are part of the new India. Though it does often please us American IT folks to be called wizards and gurus, I am not sure how Indian IT people would feel about being called fakirs, naked or not, especially given the religious implications. I guess they can answer for themselves, unless they feel like you are trolling after all and do not deign to respond.

    (I actually think that this was probably a troll after all given the username, but it was thought-provoking even if unintentionally so, and given the subject matter I felt compelled to comment anyhow).

  • by Scudsucker ( 17617 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @11:17AM (#17768848) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget the socialist healthcare, welfare middle class, and 50% income tax.

    Yeah, it would be nice if we had those things too, instead of only caring about much money the top 1% can rake in. If the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as CEO pay over the last couple of decades, it would be fifty bucks an hour.
  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Friday January 26, 2007 @11:59AM (#17769546)

    There are those who say that the states didn't ratify the amendments [thelawthatneverwas.com]. But when the Civil War is still in the memory of most of the people alive then, who is going to argue when the FedGov says that's how it's gonna be? Standing up against the FedGov has a way of being hazardous to your health.

    Honestly, I don't see any rationale for ratifying the 16th. It just makes no sense. The FedGov simply wanted more money. They'd been trying to impose direct taxation for several decades, but the courts had always intervened.

    The 17th was purportedly to correct a procedural problem that occurred when Senate vacancies would go unfilled because of partisan squabbling in the state legislatures. It seemed unfair to let a state be underrepresented in the Senate, so direct election (to bypass the legislature) seemed the best answer. (Remember that the populist movement was in full swing in the early 20th c.) A better solution would have been to expand the governors' power of recess appointment, to allow him to do so if the legislature didn't take decisive action within X number of days (while in session), and have that temporary senator hold the position until the legislature did get off its butt. So to correct a relatively minor procedural problem, they broke one of the three crucial balance systems built into the FedGov. No small wonder that power has been lopsided ever since. And small hope of ever undoing it, because most people simply can't comprehend that you have less sway over your Senator when you elect him directly - when your direct constituency is millions of people, can you hear any one particular voice? Heck, even congressional districts have gotten way too large since they froze the House at 435. By the original reckoning we'd need 10k representatives!

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry