Central issue of Gilmore v. Gonzales

In the United States today, interstate travel is essentially impossible without showing identification or being prepared to do so. A driver’s license is required to drive. Most common carriers — air, train, and ship — prohibit travel to those who refuse to show identification. Perhaps minor government-imposed restrictions on any one form of travel may not infringe a citizen’s right to travel. Cumulatively, however, a citizen who refuses or is unable to present identification is effectively unable to freely travel from one part of this country to another.

Without even a nod from Congress, the Executive Branch has imposed these ID requirements on the public, using secret regulations. So far the Judiciary has acquiesced wholeheartedly. If the US has become a society in which people “without papers” are unpersons, who have no fundamental civil rights, there should be more debate than this. I (John Gilmore) have been living without ID for several years, to learn by personal experience what rights are gone and what rights remain. I brought this case to bring the judiciary into the debate.

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