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Appeals court in San Francisco to hear arguments on Arizona immigration law

November 1, 2010 |  7:13 am

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday on the constitutionality of an Arizona law that would require police to investigate the legal status of anyone they lawfully stop and suspect may be in the country illegally.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is to meet at 9 a.m. in San Francisco for a hearing on whether key portions of the law, known as SB 1070, should continue to be blocked.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, signed the legislation into law in April, provoking nationwide protests and boycotts.

The Obama administration and civil rights groups challenged the law in court, and a federal judge in Phoenix ruled in April that its most controversial requirements infringed on the federal government's sole authority to regulate immigration.

The 9th Circuit judges chosen randomly to hear Arizona's appeal are John Noonan, an appointee of Ronald Reagan and a moderate; Richard Paez, a Bill Clinton appointee and the son of Mexican immigrants; and Carlos Bea, an appointee of George W. Bush who was born in Spain and once was ordered deported from the United States. Bea appealed and won.

In addition to requiring police to investigate the status of suspected illegal immigrants, the Arizona law would make it a state crime for an immigrant not to carry immigration papers. The court may issue its decision within weeks or months.

-- Maura Dolan