The Supreme Court rebuffed the state of Alabama on Monday by deciding not to intervene in a case where federal judges blocked a state law that criminalizes the harboring of illegal immigrants. By refusing to hear Alabama’s appeal of the Obama administration’s lower court victories, the justices steered clear of a hot-button debate at a time when Congress is engaged in writing legislation to overhaul immigration laws.
Both a federal judge and an appeals court agreed with the White House that federal law trumped a provision in Alabama state law that made it illegal to harbor or transport anyone in the state who had entered the country illegally. The appeals court ruling remains intact as a result of the Supreme Court’s refusal to intervene. A brief order issued by the Supreme Court on Monday said Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed with the decision not to hear the case.