The 9th Circuit Monday upheld the action by an Arizona district court blocking parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law from going into effect.  The law, which would have allowed law enforcement to question people about their immigration status based on a “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally, was previously barred pending a challenge to the law’s constitutionality by the Obama Justice Department.

Though this decision only upholds the decision preventing the law from taking effect, the majority opinion from Judge Richard A. Paez signaled strongly that the law may be preempted by federal law relating to immigration.  A concurring opinion by Judge John T. Noonan called the law “a chilling foretaste of what other states might attempt.”  The 9th Circuit, which has a majority of Democratic appointed judges, is expected to strike the law down when the full challenge comes before the court.

Arizona has become the forefront of the debate between the Obama administration and states that claim the federal government is not doing enough to enforce existing immigration law.  The ruling by District Judge Susan R. Bolton that the court upheld blocked provisions in the law that would allow for warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants and would criminalize the failure of immigrants to carry registration papers.