Real ID is technically alive, but in every practical way is as good as dead. With 25 states refusing to comply, the federal government has repeatedly pushed back the implementation date. The latest delay moves it into 2013.
Montana led the charge against this federal invasion of every American's privacy in 2007 when it became the first state to refuse to implement Real ID. The ACLU of Montana began encouraging this idea in 2006.
The reasons were obvious. Real ID would have turned drivers' licenses into national ID cards which could be electronically scanned and used to track everything from travel to voting to gun ownership. And putting the system in place carried an estimated nationwide price tag of more than $23 billion.
Now the states' rebellion has created a situation in which federal implementation is impossible. If the Department of Homeland Security were to enforce compliance today, more than 20 percent of the nation's population would not have the Real ID-approved driver's licenses necessary to board airplanes. That would create a situation where all those passengers would be forced to go through additional screening, effectively crippling aviation.
The same thing would happen at all federal buildings.
So Real ID remains in limbo. We hope it stays there.