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People lined up to enter the U.S. Supreme Court building last week. (Getty Images)

Justices Let Stand Block On Alabama's Tough Immigration Law

Apr 29, 2013

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Reported by

Scott Neuman

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review a lower court ruling that effectively bars Alabama from enforcing an anti-immigration law that was considered one of the toughest in the nation.

In an 8-to-1 vote, the justices let stand the lower court decision that prevents the state from enforcing the 2011 law. Justice Antonin Scalia was the sole dissenter, and did so without comment.

Among other things, the Alabama law would have allowed police, during routine traffic stops, to question and detain without bond people they suspect might be in the country illegally.

The Supreme Court decision is considered a victory for the Obama administration, which had sued to challenge the state law.

The ruling in the Alabama case comes after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government. In its decision, the Atlanta-based court pointed to a Supreme Court ruling last year invalidating parts of Arizona's immigration law, according to Bloomberg.

Reuters reports that Arizona and eight other states have similarly tough laws on immigration. Laws in Georgia and South Carolina also are being challenged in court.

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