Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Senator Clinton can't seem to pass her driver's license test

Clinton's Answers on Immigration Grant License to Criticize

I honestly do not know what the big deal is about saying yea or nay to illegals getting drivers’ licenses but Senator Clinton just can’t seem to make it happen. If it truly involves a lot of nuances (and what is with the left and nuances?), outline what they are. If you can’t endorse a blanket denial then tell us in what instances you would grant an illegal a driver’s license?

But I am sure Ms. Clinton would have little problem generally opining that a State shouldn’t give a license to a 12 year old or to the uninsured or to someone thrice convicted of drunk driving. This even though the 12 year old may be a parent’s only way to get to medical care or the uninsured may be independently wealthy enough to handle any claims against him or the ex-drunk may be his family’s only source of income and needs his car thusly. What, beyond feared political repercussions (both ways), makes this question different?

Ideally, the granting of a driver’s license would not be a federal concern except, of course, that everything has become a federal concern. A proposal to tie some federal highway money to a prohibition on granting illegals access to our nation’s most important source of picture IDs might be a good way to get some people to say “yea” or “nay”.

I would - respectfully - disagree with your general proposition about the federalization of driver's licenses. I think federal administration would actually be more efficient than state administration. While the current system has positive effects for some people - namely the patronage jobs as payoffs to loyal hacks - the driver's license has transformed into a defacto national identity card.

Perhaps it would be better to have an explicit national identity card separate from motoring issues. While my libertarian instincts rail against it, I find it hard to argue against the idea that it is reasonable for major rights to have consistent documentation substantiating those rights. You have a house? You have a deed. You have a savings account? You have a passbook. You have the rights of "citizen" under the U.S. Constitution and assorted statutes? You have a document of some sort substantiating those rights.

Spitzer's argument about making it easier to make sure that illegals in fact get insurance for their driving makes some sense to me. There are some people who are out of status but who can, under current law, get back "into status." I would rather that they be licensed and insured during the pendency of their stay until either deportation or return to lawful status.
Bruce - respectfully disagreeing with your respectful disagreement; no doubt federalization would be more efficient than some states - I doubt that's a blanket liklihood.

and most of our rights under the Constitution are rights not to have the federal government interfere our rights. Not sure a card advances that thought.

Finally, if people can get back into status then let them do so PRIOR to getting a license. As an attorney, you've no doubt had citizen clients experiencing times of unlicensed status - their potential behaviour during that time is/was not a good reason to license them.
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