Arizona ruling only a narrow opening for other states

On the basis of the ruling, five other states that have already passed similar laws — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — should be able to defeat some of the many challenges they faced from civil rights organizations, which have held up those laws in the courts.

But the Supreme Court’s carefully etched decision also gave opponents of Arizona’s law a clear affirmation of the primary role of the federal government on immigration. The court put state governments on notice that they would have to tread carefully to avoid interfering with federal policy if they want to engage in immigration enforcement. …

“If state governments enact new immigration bills, we say bring it on, we will see them in court,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. His organization has participated with other rights groups in a separate lawsuit against Arizona over the law, known as S.B. 1070, and against immigration enforcement laws in other states.