11th Circuit Court rejects Alabama request for rehearing on blocked parts of immigration law

Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 7:49 PM
By Brian Lawson

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is flanked by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, left, and Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, right, as he speaks before signing into law what he called the strongest bill in the nation cracking down on illegal immigration, on Thursday June 9, 2011 at the state Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which blocked several sections of Alabama's immigration law in August, denied a request today by the State of Alabama for a rehearing.

A three-judge panel issued the August ruling and attorneys for Alabama had asked the court to reconsider its ruling or let the full 11th Circuit weigh the state's arguments.

Today's short ruling said the rehearing request was denied and that no active member of the court had expressed an interest in a hearing by the full panel.

The state is contesting two lawsuits, one brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the other by a group of 36 plaintiffs that included advocacy groups, unions and individuals.

The ruling today was in the case involving the Justice Department. The court said Alabama could not establish a ban on contracts with illegal immigrants and could not criminalize harboring and transporting illegal immigrants. Alabama wanted the court to reconsider those decisions.

In the other lawsuit, the court blocked Alabama's efforts to collect immigration data on new public school students. It is not immediately clear if the 11th Circuit is still considering Alabama's request challenging that ruling.

Alabama passed the far-reaching immigration law in 2011. Its provisions directing employers to check immigration status of employees through a federal database and allowing police to conduct immigration checks during traffic stops have been upheld by the courts.

But the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision largely rejected Arizona's similar immigration law and the court found that immigration policy and enforcement is primarily the responsibility of the federal government.

11th Circuit Court rejects Alabama request for rehearing on blocked parts of immigration law | al.com