The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld this week a lower court ruling that put on hold key provisions of the Arizona immigration law, which empowered police to question people whom they have a “reasonable suspicion” are illegal immigrants.

In a split decision, a three-judge panel found that U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton “did not abuse” her discretion in blocking parts of the law that, among other things, require police to check immigration status if they stop someone while enforcing other laws.  The court, however, did not rule on whether the Arizona law was legal thus clearing the way for the U.S. Department of Justice to move forward with its challenge that the Arizona law is unconstitutional.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (R) have stated they are considering their legal options and said they remain confident the law will eventually be found constitutional.  Brewer vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary and indicated she may appeal the decision to a larger 9th Circuit panel.

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