May 20, 2005

Real ID Act to Get First Court Test Next Week

Case will test REAL ID asylum law, says the World Peace Herald. Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:
"A federal court is scheduled next week to hear the first case in which the Bush administration is using controversial provisions of the newly minted REAL ID Act that limit the right of appeal for people refused asylum.

"Ablavi Malm, 51, was ordered deported to Togo because her appeal invoking the protection of anti-torture statutes was filed 20 days late, according to her lawyer, Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights USA."

And, farther into the article:
"[T]he law removes the right of would-be refugees to file petitions under habeas corpus -- a legal doctrine regarding whether a person is being held legally.

"The Department of Justice, in papers filed Tuesday, said the law means the courts cannot hear Malm's appeal.

"'This is a very long standing and carefully preserved right,' Sklar said of habeas corpus. 'It is a last resort to ensure that fundamental rights are not eliminated by administrative fiat.'"

Ah, but isn't that what's been happening here in the USSA for years now?

Another news item, from the Vermont Guardian: SurREAL ID: New drivers' licenses may mean loss of privacy. An excerpt from the middle of this good story:
"George Orwell's totalitarian 'Big Brother' is exactly the image to which pundits and critics compare the Real ID Act.

"Robert Dreyfuss, contributing editor to The Nation and Mother Jones, calls it 'a step toward a chilling, privacy-violating national ID card system that could one day have Americans being asked, Nazi-style, to "show us your papers" wherever they go.'

"That's not so far-fetched, says Jeff Weaver, chief of staff for Rep. Bernie Sanders, one of only 58 House members to turn thumbs down on the measure.

"'There is a real concern on a lot of people's part that this is the first step toward a national ID card,' said Weaver. 'To the extent that you create a federally mandated standardized driver’s license process, you are certainly moving in that direction.'

"Aside from the cost to states to comply with Real ID requirements -- a figure the National Conference of State Legislatures puts at about $700 million -- Weaver said Sanders' concerns center on technology currently being introduced in U.S. passports, which will include a remotely readable chip that delivers information to electronic scanners anytime the bearer passes through a reader."

Last for now, I just discovered a May 9 Findlaw commentary that's still worth reading: The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy. Upon reading that title, I expected the Eleanor Roosevelt angle to be silly, but I actually found it to be one of the best points of the commentary:
"As Eleanor Roosevelt said, 'One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.'"


Anonymous Mary Lou said...

Here's a good collection of REAL ID articles The Real ID Act: It's a lot worse than just a national ID

9:33 PM  

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