The 2010 Arizona measure requires police to arrest people they stop whom they suspect lack authorization to be in the U.S., and includes other provisions intended to drive illegal immigrants from the state. U.S. courts have blocked much of the Arizona law from taking effect, moncler jackets agreeing with the Justice Department that it undermines federal authority over immigration.
The court is likely to hear the case by April and issue a decision before July, the same time frame for its review of President Barack Obama's 2010 health-care overhaul. Conservative activists and Republican officials from 26 state governments contend the health law exceeds federal authority.
The scheduling could give both cases a significant role in next year's presidential and congressional elections—and could make the Supreme Court, certain to be criticized by the losers in each case, itself an issue. Four of the nine justices are in their 70s, suggesting that the next president could have at least one vacancy to fill on the closely divided court.
While the court's eventual ruling can't be predicted, a decision in the heat of the campaign will increase attention on the immigration issue. The White House sees the development as a plus with Hispanic voters, who strongly oppose these state laws and are likely to be energized regardless of the outcome, according to a person familiar with White House officials' thinking. Mr. Obama is counting on strong turnout and support from Hispanics to offset expected losses among white voters.
But action in the Supreme Court could cut against the White House with voters who favor these statutes and may resent the fact that the Obama administration has worked to overturn them.
Some analysts say the Supreme Court often appears too abstract cheap moncler jackets an issue for most voters.
"The actual presidential election will be four or five months" after the decisions are issued, said David Yalof, a political scientist at the University of Connecticut. By then, "the public generally turns its attention to the economy or national security, and those issues generally trump the court" for independent voters likely to be the focus for both Mr. Obama and his Republican challenger.
Arizona's illegal-immigration measure, officially titled the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act and known as SB 1070, reflected outrage among tea-party conservatives over what they considered lax enforcement by federal immigration authorities. Similar laws were introduced in other states, including Alabama, where officials were recently embarrassed after executives from German and Japanese car makers that the state had pushed to bring there were arrested for failing to produce immigration papers.
Those incidents and a backlash against the Arizona law have prompted second thoughts among some backers of state crackdowns. Last month, voters in Mesa, Ariz., recalled state Sen. Russell Pearce, the Republican firebrand behind SB 1070.
His recall indicates he alienated voters who saw their state suffer economically from the controversial law and who came to see the focus on illegal immigration as a diversion from more pressing issues.
In May, over the objection of the Obama administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Court upheld another measure sponsored by Mr. Pearce that forced employers that repeatedly hired illegal immigrants to go out of business. The justices voted 5-4 along ideological lines to give expansive effect to a federal provision authorizing states to consider compliance with immigration rules when issuing business licenses.
Although that opinion, by Chief Justice John Roberts, sympathized with states seeking to control their borders,moncler 2012 it is unclear how the justices will read separate provisions of federal immigration law at issue in the SB 1070 case.