PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is preparing to ask an appeals court to lift a judge’s ruling that put most of the state’s immigration law on hold in a key first-round victory for the federal government in a fight that may go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three people were arrested Thursday morning at the federal courthouse in Phoenix, where police had riot gear ready in case the protest got out of hand. It was not immediately clear why the people were detained.
Hundreds of protesters marched from the state Capitol at dawn, then held a prayer service at a local church before gathering in front of the federal courthouse.
Opponents also planned a sit-in at the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff said if protesters were disruptive they’d be arrested, and he vowed to go ahead with a crime sweep targeting illegal immigrants.
“My deputies will arrest them and put them in pink underwear,” Arpaio said, referring to one of his odd methods of punishment for prisoners. “Count on it.”
Gov. Jan Brewer called Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton “a bump in the road” and vowed to appeal.
Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, said Arizona would ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco later Thursday to lift Bolton’s preliminary injunction and to expedite its consideration of the state’s appeal.
Bolton indicated the government has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law. But the key sponsor of Arizona’s law, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, said the judge was wrong and predicted the state would ultimately win the case.
Opponents of the law said the ruling sends a strong message to other states hoping to replicate the law.