No ruling after hearings on Arizona immigration law

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PHOENIX -- Two federal court hearings in Phoenix ended Thursday without a ruling on whether the state's new immigration law should take effect amid a flurry of legal challenges against the crackdown.

The Phoenix courtrooms for the morning and afternoon hearings were packed as media, attorneys, politicians and other interested parties watched the debate on whether Arizona's immigration law should take effect next week.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton is presiding over the hearings on whether the law should be put on hold and whether a lawsuit challenging it should be dismissed. That's in a case filed by civil rights groups and others.

Bolton held a morning hearing on a broader request by the American Civil Liberties Union and other challengers. That hearing also covered a request by Brewer's lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit filed by those groups.

During the morning hearing, Bolton said she's required to consider blocking only parts of the law, not the entire statute as some plaintiffs had requested.

Bolton's afternoon hearing was on the Department of Justice's request for a preliminary injunction blocking key sections of the law from taking effect next week.

The afternoon hearing focused on whether state law is trumped by the federal government's constitutional authority to set immigration policy.

Approximately 30 lawyers were in court to represent defendants in the case. Also about 150 spectators were in the courtroom, many in a second-floor gallery.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was in the courtroom Thursday afternoon to observe Bolton's hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to block implementation of Arizona's new immigration law.

Brewer and several of her aides sat on a bench immediately behind her lawyers defending the law, and Judge Susan Bolton welcomed her.

The law requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to check a person's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion that the person is here illegally.