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Federal judge declines to lift injunction against South Carolina immigration law

A judge for the US District Court for the District of South Carolina [official website] on Monday declined to lift an injunction against South Carolina's controversial immigration law [SB 20, materials], despite the recent US Supreme Court [official website] decision striking down most of the model Arizona immigration law [SB 1070, PDF; JURIST news archive]. In light of the Supreme Court ruling in Arizona v. United States [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], US District Judge Richard Gergel held a hearing to revisit his December ruling that blocked provisions of the South Carolina law [JURIST report] from being enforced. After the hearing Gergel issued an order that his injunction would stand [Reuters report], despite the issues raised by the Arizona ruling, because Gergel no longer had jurisdiction to amend his previous order since it was appealed in January [JURIST report] by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson [official website]. Gergel concluded that because the state had appealed the injunction it would remain in place until the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] either lifted the injunction or remanded the case to Gergel for reconsideration.

The lawsuit against the South Carolina immigration law was put on hold [JURIST report] in January pending the outcome of Arizona v. United States. South Carolina is one of five states, including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and Utah [JURIST reports] that modeled their recent immigration laws after Arizona's controversial SB 1070. Last week Georgia argued to the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] that its immigration law is constitutional under the Arizona ruling, stating that the provision of its law being challenged is most comparable to the provision of the Arizona law that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a revised immigration bill in May following his pledge to refine the immigration law after it was blocked last year [JURIST reports] by the Eleventh Circuit. Last May the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) [advocacy websites] filed a class action lawsuit challenging Utah's immigration law, the same month that the ACLU filed a class action [JURIST reports] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] challenging that state's immigration law.

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