The paranoia-inducing 27B Stroke 6 blog reports that the Department of Homeland Security has issued its requirements for standardizing state identification cards.
States must start issuing the new internal passports by May 2008, or else their citizens will not be able to board planes or enter federal courthouses...
DHS estimates that it will take only 44 minutes for a current driver's license holder to get a certified copy of their birth certificate, travel to the DMV and get a new license when it expires. No current driver's license holder will be allowed to renew a license by mail. They estimate the costs to states and individuals over 10 years will be $23 billion.
Congress may move to negate this ruling by repealing the Act or reverting to an earlier process.
I'll bet the Democrat-controlled Congress will let the DHS have its way without much of a fight. Link
Clearly, this would be a really, really bad thing. But there's also good reason to suspect that such a rule would be,
a) not implemented because Congress actually might pass legislation:
Bills to Repeal REAL ID Introduced in House and Senate.
Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and John Sununu (R-NH) have introduced
legislation to repeal the REAL ID Act (pdf)
S. 717, the "Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007" seeks
to fix the many problems created by the REAL ID national ID
scheme. S. 717, which
includes Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jon Tester (D-MT) as
co-sponsors, contains strong security and privacy protections. In
the House, Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME) has introduced similar
H.R. 1117, the "Real
ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007."
b) probably challenged (on many levels) by several of the states on a number of grounds, as has already happened with the REAL ID Act,
c) ruled unconstitutional for equal protection violations
In any event, something to be concerned about, but I'm not quite so cynical that it will go forward without substantial resistance (if it goes forward at all).