Friday, May 13, 2005

More on the RealID Act

It passed the Senate Tuesday 100-0. There wasn't even a single abstention. Congress never read the Patriot Act before voting on it, and it's obvious they didn't read this one either. Ars Technica was the first to point out that it has a really appalling power grab. The Secretary of Homeland Security has been granted the right to waive any law he wants to in pursuit of building roads and barriers in a specific part of California and to be free of all judicial review.

Courtesy of The Electronic Frontier Foundation's analysis of the Bill:

H.R. 418 [the Real ID Act of 2005] would provide additional waiver authority over laws that might impede the expeditious construction of barriers and roads along the border. H.R. 418 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any and all laws that he determines necessary, in his sole discretion, to ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads under IIRIRA § 102...

Section 102 of H.R. 418 would amend the current provision to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any law upon determining that a waiver is necessary for the expeditious construction of the border barriers. Additionally, it would prohibit judicial review of a waiver decision or action by the Secretary and bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages alleged to result from any such decision or action.

Now, I don't care too much about roads in San Diego. Roads in Portland are the ones I have to drive on every day. It's the part which says that he is completely free of any sorts of judicial checks and balances and that no relief of any sort is allowed - no suits for damages, no injunctions, nothing. We can only wait and see how far this will be extended to other executive powers.

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