[JURIST] Judge Clark Waddoups of the US District Court for the District of Utah [official website] said Tuesday that he would delay his ruling [order, PDF] on Utah’s immigration law [HB 497, PDF] until the US Supreme Court rules on the similar Arizona Immigration Law. Waddoups believes that it is in the best interest of the state and the court to wait until the Supreme Court offers more guidance [Salt Lake Tribune report] on the issue. The immigration bill was originally signed into law [JURIST report] by Governor Gary Herbert [official website] last March. The law has been likened to an Arizona Immigration law [SB 1070 materials, JURIST news archive], which requires police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for an alleged felony or serious misdemeanor. Waddoups stated that while there were differences between the Arizona and the Utah laws, there are enough similarities to warrant waiting for that ruling to come down:
Although Arizona’s law is different from Utah’s law in several respects, some aspects are sufficiently similar that the Supreme Court’s ruling likely will inform this court in its decision. Because this case addresses significant constitutional issues, the court does not believe it would be helpful to the parties for the court to rule on the present motions before it receives the additional guidance from the Supreme Court. It therefore will reserve ruling until the Supreme Court has issued its decision.
The Supreme Court’s decision on the Arizona law is expected later this spring.
Waddoups temporarily blocked the Utah law in May, less than 24 hours after it took effect, following a challenge [JURIST reports] by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, the National Immigration Law Center [advocacy websites] and other plaintiffs. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] has also filed suit [complaint, PDF; press release] alleging that clauses in the law are preempted by the federal government’s jurisdiction over immigration. The DOJ has filed similar suits challenging immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina [JURIST reports]. Federal judges have enjoined portions of each of those laws, and an appeal of the Arizona law is currently pending before the Supreme Court [JURIST report]. The DOJ is reviewing similar immigration legislation passed recently in Indiana and Georgia [JURIST reports].