Meet Real ID, as described by the ACLU in The Slow, Quiet Death of Real ID
The Real ID Act of 2005 is a federal law, and, as a federal law, supersedes state law.
If fully implemented, the law would facilitate tracking of data on individuals and bring government into the very center of every citizenâ€™s life. As happened with Social Security numbers decades ago, use of such ID cards would then quickly spread and be used for other purposes â€” from work to voting to gun ownership. Other groups opposed Real ID because of its high cost (more than $23 billion by initial government estimates), cumbersome bureaucracy and impact on religious minorities.
Because of all these problems instead of compliance, Real ID faced widespread opposition. States rebelled. They had already taken steps to strengthen licenses after 9/11 and Real ID would undo that in favor of an expensive one-size-fits-all federal solution. So instead 25 states, either through a statute or legislative resolution, rejected Real ID. In fact, in 15 states it is actually illegal for state officials to comply with the federal law.
Wait. States actually passed legislation saying not to follow federal law? Yes.
So the feds cracked down, right?
No. It would be too unpopular and expensive to do so.
So instead DHS has chosen to postpone implementation over and over again. The final implementation date has been moved from May 2008 to December 31, 2009, then May 11, 2011 and is now January 2013. DHS itself acknowledges the moribund state of the law. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has said as much and the department also has only four full time employees working on Real ID
Naturally, it’s harder to derail something as entrenched as federal drug policy, but it does go to show that the will of the people and the states still have power even against a powerful federal government that unreasonably wishes to push a misguided legislative agenda.