Hearing starts over Ariz. illegal immigration law

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Protesters beginning to gather outside court hearing in San Francisco over SB 1070. By Natalie Rivers Protesters beginning to gather outside court hearing in San Francisco over SB 1070. By Natalie Rivers
Outside of the federal appears court in San Francisco. By Natalie Rivers Outside of the federal appears court in San Francisco. By Natalie Rivers
Press outside the federal appeals court in San Francisco. By Natalie Flanzer Press outside the federal appeals court in San Francisco. By Natalie Flanzer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Arizona's controversial new immigration law is being questioned by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday began hearing arguments from lawyers representing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who appealed a lower-court ruling putting parts of the law on hold.

The central theme Monday was what role local authorities can play in regulating immigration, an area largely left to the federal government to enforce.

Brewer is attending the hearing in San Francisco, which began with tough questioning of her lawyers over previous appellate ruling that rejected state regulation of illegal immigration.

When the law passed and was signed by Brewer on April 23, it touched off a national furor. Brewer faces re-election Tuesday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)