Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Vows to Fight Law That Sent Him to Jail
Around the State
Adrian Wyllie wants to be the next governor of Florida. While he may be a long shot, his campaign just got real.
The Libertarian candidate was arrested May 9 in Clearwater, outside of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, where he was an honorary guest at an Intercultural Advocacy Institute luncheon.
According to a statement, Wyllie plans to use his arrest to challenge the REAL ID Act -- a controversial law Florida and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue implementing in four phases ending in 2016.
Passed in 2005 as an anti-terrorism measure, REAL ID establishes new federal standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards. The standards include provisions mandating electronic data storage of additional personal information and the linking of state databases both domestically between states and internationally through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
The law is intended to protect citizens from terrorism and can be used to aid illegal immigration enforcement efforts. But many organizations from across the political spectrum oppose the law, as it effectively creates a national ID card system.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the libertarian Cato Institute, the American Center for Law and Justice and some gun rights groups oppose the law.
Jim Harper, a Cato Institute scholar, has called REAL ID laws a “national catastrophe” and “an unfunded federal surveillance mandate.”
Many states have passed legislation opposing the law, but not Florida. The Sunshine State implemented it in 2008 under then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of Homeland Security announced in December 2013 enforcement of REAL ID credentials will begin in “a measured, fair and responsible way.”
Wyllie’s arrest was a long time coming.
In 2011, around the time federal agencies stopped accepting drivers’ licenses and state-issued identification cards unless they met the new federal standards, Wyllie relinquished his license and even “informed several jurisdictions of law enforcement of his act of civil disobedience.”
“His fight against REAL ID started in 2011 when he went to renew his driver’s license,” said Alexandre.
Wyllie was eventually ticketed for driving without a license the same year and appeared in court to protest the legal grounds for the $116 citation. He lost.
With respect to his recent arrest, however, Wyllie said on the Ben Swann radio show he was actually “happy” to have spent the day in jail.
“I was probably the only person happy to be there, since this gives us the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of REAL ID in court,” Wyllie said.
“The arrest will give Mr. Wyllie a chance to take his argument to a jury as he fights the criminal charges against him brought on by this unconstitutional law,” said the campaign statement.
“The campaign and Mr. Wyllie feel that the people should determine whether a law is just or unjust, constitutional or unconstitutional. Bringing his case before a jury of his peers puts it in the hands of the people rather than in the hands of bureaucrats,” said Alexandre.
Floridians born after Dec. 1, 1964, will have to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card before December. Those born before December 1964 will have until December 2017.
Contact William Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.