Supreme Court to Decide Mandatory ID Case
The Honolulu Advertiser
Do you have to tell the police your name? Depending on how the Supreme Court rules, the answer could be the difference between arrest and freedom. The justices heard arguments Monday in a first-of-its kind case that asks whether people can be punished for refusing to identify themselves.
The case will clarify police powers in the post-Sept. 11 era, determining if officials can demand to see identification whenever they deem it necessary. Nevada senior deputy attorney general Conrad Hafen told justices that "identifying yourself is a neutral act" that helps police in their investigations and doesn't, by itself, incriminate anyone. At the heart of the case is an intersection of the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable searches, and the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
But if that is allowed, several justices asked, what will be next? A fingerprint? Telephone number? E-mail address? What about a national identification card? "The government could require name tags, color codes," Hiibel's lawyer, Robert Dolan, told the court.