The New National Id Systems

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At times during national crises, it has been proposed that residents of the United States be required lớn carry some proof of identity, but so far such a proposal has not been implemented. Critics of national identification cards argue that their issuance would raise numerous constitutional concerns, including those associated with privacy, freedom of association, and the franchise. Congress recently debated the need for national identification cards on at least two occasions. The first was in 1998 in a House committee, pictured here. Congress considered the idea again after the al-Qaida attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, but it did not act. In this photo, Gregory Nojelặng, legislative sầu counsel, American Civil Liberties Union, right, along with identity theft victims Marvin Young of Oaklvà, Calif., left, và Celene Cross of Macomb, Ill., testifies on Capitol Hill Thursday Sept. 17, 1998 before a House Government Rekhung and Oversight subcommittee hearing on the need for a national identification card. (APhường Photo/William Philpott, used with permission from the Associated Press)


At times during national crises, it has been proposed that residents of the United States be required lớn carry some proof of identity, but so far such a proposal has not been implemented. Critics of national identification cards argue that their issuance would raise numerous constitutional concerns, including those associated with privacy, freedom of association, and the franchise.

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Advocates have sầu several reasons for issuing national identification cards

Over one hundred countries, including many major Western democracies, issue national identification cards and require their citizens lớn show them when voting, traveling, or applying for government benefits. In some countries, a passport is used instead of a national identification card. Advocates offer several reasons for the issuance of such cards:

Second, the cards would prevent identity theft và fraud.Third, such cards would facilitate the delivery of government services to citizens by ensuring that noncitizens vì chưng not receive the services in error.Fourth, the cards would promote law enforcement goals by making it easier for police to lớn determine the identity of individuals & criminal suspects.Finally, use of the cards would prevent voter fraud in elections.

Congress recently debated national identification cards

Congress recently debated the need for national identification cards on at least two occasions. The first was in 1998 in a House committee. Congress considered the idea again after the al-Qaida attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, but it did not act.

Some say the Social Security card is already a national identification card

Even though the United States issues no official national identification cards, several government-issued documents serve sầu similar functions. In most, if not all, states, a driver’s license serves as a government-issued identification card when making commercial transactions or voting. The Social Security card, or at least the number, is also often used for governmental, and occasionally nongovernmental, purposes khổng lồ establish an identity. Thus one could argue that a form of a government-issued or national identification thẻ already exists.

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Critics of the cards say mandating them would violate the Constitution

Critics of these cards often argue that mandating them would violate the Constitution. Their arguments often cite the Fourth Amendment and right khổng lồ privacy concerns. Other critics argue that national identification cards interfere with First Amendment rights lớn freedom of association.

For example, in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995), the Supreme Court ruled that individuals have sầu a right to engage in anonymous political speech. Based on this decision, one might argue that individuals have a right lớn anonymous political association, miễn phí from having lớn carry or produce a government-issued identification card upon request. It could also be argued that requiring voters khổng lồ produce governmentissued identification cards might make it more difficult for those who laông xã these cards, such as the poor, lớn purchase them & vote.

This article was originally published in 2009. David Schultz is a professor in the Hamline University Departments of Political Science and Legal Studies, and a visiting professor of law at the University of Minnesota. He is a three-time Fulbright scholar and author/editor of more than 35 books và 200 articles, including several encyclopedias on the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court, & money, politics, và the First Amendment.