U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's decision to strike down some of the most-discussed sections of the Arizona immigration law, including the provision requiring law enforcement to check immigration papers, is probably not the end of this case, which experts say is likely to go before the Supreme Court. But, in the meantime, the ruling will have very real consequences for the politics and policy of immigration, from Phoenix to Washington and beyond. Here's how.

  • Sets Stage for More Federal-vs-State Conflict The New York Times' Julia Preston says this ruling will "assert the primary authority of the federal government over state lawmakers in immigration matters. ... The decision by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to throw the federal government’s weight against Arizona, on an issue that has aroused passions among state residents, has irritated many state governors, and nine states filed papers supporting Arizona in the court case. ... 'This is a warning to any other jurisdiction' considering a similar law, said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which brought a separate suit against the law that is also before Judge Bolton."
  • Could Spark Nationwide Backlash Against Obama  Libertarian blogger Doug Mataconis writes, "Polls have shown repeatedly that a large majority of Americans support Arizona’s law and a new polls shows that similar majorities oppose the Justice Department’s decision to sue the State of Arizona. One can imagine that these voters are going to react negatively to this decision, although, of course, there’s not really much they can do about it since the matter is in the hands of the Court. Will it have an impact on the November elections, though?"
  • Could Be Bad, Bad News for Harry Reid  Liberal blogger Steve M. worries, "I'm not convinced that this is a win for [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid -- in fact, I think it may be a life preserver for Sharron Angle's campaign, which recently has been taking on water. All of a sudden the race isn't going to be about her and her extremism -- it's going to be about whether "activist judges" can be free to overturn a popular law (very popular among whites) in a neighboring state. Angle wanted the race to be about Reid, and Reid has been succeeding in making it about Angle, but now it's going to be about neither -- it's going to be about Obama. ... I'm not convinced that Hispanics in Nevada are going to turn out in droves to vote for Reid because an Obama strategy blocked implementation of this law."
  • Will It Galvanize Voters for November?  The Guardian's Michael Tomasky predicts, "There seems little doubt that this ruling will rile up the conservative base heading into the elections. It doesn't help the liberal side that along with the federal government, another winner here today is the American Civil Liberties Union." Liberal blogger Steve M. writes, "From the beginning I've been skeptical about the White House's political calculations for November regarding the law -- I don't buy the notion that this will drive Hispanics to the polls in numbers sufficient to offset some of the GOP's tea party and swing-voter gains. Well, now I guess we'll see who's right."
  • AZ Gov. Jan Brewer Gets Even More Popular  The Washington Post's Jerry Markon and Stephanie McCrummen write, "Republicans condemned Bolton's decision and what they called the administration's failure to fight illegal immigration. They were led by Brewer, who also criticized unspecified "fear-mongers, those dealing in hate" and others who have spurred economic boycotts of the state. 'I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary,' said Brewer, whose popularity has increased ahead of her reelection bid this fall."
  • What It Won't Change: Immigration Furor  The Washington Post's Greg Sargent sighs, "A Federal judge has temporarily blocked key parts of the Arizona immigration law, but the underlying problems and explosive political tensions remain entirely unchanged."