A rally to protest Arizona's tough new immigration law turned into an impromptu celebration outside the state Capitol in Phoenix on Wednesday (July 28), when a federal judge prevented key sections of the measure from taking effect hours later.
The ruling energized pro-immigrant demonstrators, who have been staging a 100-day vigil outside the Capitol since the law was signed. But the unscheduled party was just one of many reactions that followed U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's ruling, which at least temporarily invalidated key components of the Arizona measure.
From a legal perspective, the ruling lends weight to the Obama administration's assertion that the federal government, not the states, should enforce immigration policy. It was based, as The Wall Street Journal reported , "on court precedents that support federal pre-emption of state laws found to conflict with or infringe upon federal authority." And it is likely to set up a series of appeals that could find their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Already, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has said she plans to file an " expedited appeal " of the decision to the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California.
Politically, meanwhile, the ruling will have its own ramifications. The Republican Governors Association — preparing for a record 37 governor's races this year — used it to ask for political contributions, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Legislators in South Carolina and Tennessee said the ruling will do nothing to prevent them from pressing forward on their own Arizona-style immigration law, which polls have shown to be broadly popular despite questions over its legality. And with at least four other states — Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island- weighing similar legislation, both the bills and the court's ruling are likely to be mentioned on the campaign trail in the coming weeks. As Stateline reported on July 21 , immigration has already found its way into several governor's races in states that are far from Arizona.
Newspaper editorial boards will be busy interpreting the Arizona ruling in the next few days, but some early reactions emerged. The New York Times hailed the ruling and denounced the law as "not a case of a state helping the federal government do a job it neglected. It is a radical upending of immigration priorities, part of a spiteful crusade to force a mass exodus of illegal immigrants."