Congressional Republicans are scrambling to defuse the political time bomb they created in 2005 when they allowed states to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens — but a key Republican and author of the Real ID Act says their new bill is unconstitutional.Read more here.
"Driver's licenses are issued by the states, not the federal government. I do not believe it is constitutional for the federal government to tell the states who they can issue driver's licenses to and who they can't issue driver's licenses to," said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the 2005 law and its provision allowing states the option of giving licenses to illegal aliens.
I find it ironic that Sensenbrenner is getting all "Constitutional" about the issue now.
The current debate is about giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. But it strikes at the deeper issues of federalism, freedom, and the massive growth in power and scope of the federal government. People who call themselves "conservative" and sling around words like "Constitution" better figure out what their doing PDQ.
We better make sure that the cure for illegal immigration isn't worse than the problem.
Also, I'm simultaneously amused and dismayed at the willingness of Sensenbrenner to engage in ad hominem slaps at regular Americans who still love the antiquated idea of freedom:
"If there's a national policy then a driver's license becomes a national ID card," he said, adding that "ends up playing into the fears of the ACLU and the people on the far right that the Real ID is in fact a national ID card."Translation: The ideal of limited government and the Bill of Rights (esp. 4th Amendment), are now the realm of the "far right."
Mr. Sensenbrenner must have a new twist on conservative philosophy: Freedom is no longer tied to the concept of "limited government." Freedom is now tied to the concept of an "ever-present Washington." This kind of thinking can only come from someone who has been in Washington too long.
Finally, Mr. Sensenbrenner should be careful of expressing concerns over the Constitution and federalism. Someone may label him as "far right."
(See why REAL ID is indeed a national id card.)