Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Justices Let Stand Block On Alabama's Tough Immigration Law

People line up to enter the United States Supreme Court Building last week.
Mark Wilson
People line up to enter the United States Supreme Court Building last week.

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

In an 8-to-1 decision, the justices let stand the decision of the lower court in Alabama vs. United States that prevents the state from enforcing the 2011 law. Justice Scalia was the sole justice to dissent and did so without comment.

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


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

The decision comes after the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government.

In throwing out the provision, an Atlanta-based federal appeals court pointed to a Supreme Court decision last year invalidating parts of Arizona's immigration law, according to Bloomberg.

According to Reuters, Arizona and eight other states have similar laws. Laws in Georgia and South Carolina are also being challenged in court.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit