The American tradition of liberty is such that citizens generally do not have to justify their existence by producing government-issued identity papers whenever ordered to do so. This is why moves to establish a national identity card have never gotten off the ground.
But what happens when a police officer believes you might be involved in a crime and asks your name as part of the investigation? Do you have to answer?
That is the question before the US Supreme Court Monday, as the justices consider whether a Nevada law requiring suspects to identify themselves whenever requested by police violates constitutional protections of privacy and freedom from self-incrimination. The case is significant because it gives the court a chance to more closely define how deeply law-enforcement officials may intrude into private lives.