Gov. Jan Brewer said she and Attorney General Tom Horne had decided to take the case directly to the nation’s highest court, asking it to examine whether US District Judge Susan Bolton acted correctly when she issued her injunction in Phoenix last summer.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction on April 11. Arizona could ask all active judges on the Ninth Circuit to rehear the appeal, but state officials decided it would be faster to take the case directly to the Supreme Court.
“I’ve always known this legal fight would be a long one,” Governor Brewer said, “but now that this is the path we’ve chosen, I am confident Arizona will prevail.”
The Arizona law, known as SB 1070, required state and local police during a valid stop to check the immigration status of anyone they suspected might be in the US illegally.
Opponents complained that it could lead to racial profiling.
The law also required immigrants to carry federal immigration papers, made it illegal for undocumented immigrants to work in Arizona, and authorized warrantless arrests of anyone who had committed a deportable offense.
Judge Bolton blocked the four provisions in a July ruling issued on the eve of the new law taking effect.
Justice Department lawyers representing the Obama administration argued that SB 1070 conflicted with national immigration statutes and policies set in Washington. They said the state law was preempted by federal law.
Arizona officials said the tough immigration law was consistent with tough federal statutes passed by Congress. The problem, they said, was that the Obama administration was unwilling to enforce federal immigration law to protect border states from illegal immigration and associated problems.
The Ninth Circuit agreed with Bolton that the Obama administration was likely to win the case at trial and thus was entitled to an injunction blocking implementation of the four provisions
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