What Does the Ariz. Immigration Verdict Mean?

Jan Crawford, CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent
Jan Crawford, CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent
CBS
The judge didn't strike down the entire law. So what does it mean?

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down every section the Obama administration cared about: a complete victory says CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford.

She has ruled that the power to regulate immigration lies exclusively with the federal government, and that the Arizona law will burden legal aliens and U.S. citizens.

Crawford: Ariz. Ruling Accepts Admin's Main Arguments
Read Judge Bolton's Decision
Arizona Immigration Decision: Early Reaction
Ruling Accepts Administration's Main Arguments

She said she recognized Arizona had significant interests in confronting illegal immigration and problems with crime but Arizona still couldn't step into the federal government's role.

The judge also cautioned that the Arizona law would increase the "intrusion of police presence into the lives of legally-present aliens, and even United States citizens."

So this now puts the pressure on the federal government -- and the White House -- to take responsibility and do something to fix immigration.

But the fight in the states isn't over.

Twenty states are now considering similar laws…and this is just one judge's ruling.

In one state.

It doesn't bind Texas or New Jersey or any other state, although it will put at damper on those efforts.

And at some point we're going to get a final answer.

This will be appealed, probably up to the Supreme Court.

Politically, what does this mean?

This is the best news the Obama administration has gotten in a long time and there's huge relief in the Justice department. The ruling was a slam dunk.

And now Arizona has to appeal since the administration isn't going to drag Arizona into the federal appeals courts.

Some groups on the right are furious about the ruling and they say they will keep the heat on illegal immigration.

But this is a difficult political issue because Republicans risk alienating a key voting bloc.

  • Jan Crawford
    Jan Crawford On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.