A federal judge on Thursday blocked three key provisions of South Carolina's controversial law cracking down on illegal immigration.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel granted the federal government's request for an injunction against the law that's set to take effect Jan. 1.
The ruling applies to portions that require law officers to check the status of anyone they stop for something else and suspect is in the country illegally. Gergel also halted the implementation of sections pertaining to the transportation of illegal immigrants and immigrant registration cards.
Gergel has denied the state's request that he suspend all court hearings on the case until the U.S.Supreme Court rules on a challenge to Arizona's similar law. South Carolina prosecutors have said the nation's high court will likely rule in six months or less.
A spokesman for Republican Gov. Nikki Haley responded to the ruling by saying the case will be decided by the Supreme Court.
"If the feds were doing their job, we wouldn't have had to address illegal immigration reform at the state level. But, until they do, we're going to keep fighting in South Carolina to be able to enforce our laws," said spokesman Rob Godfrey. "Governor Haley is hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon do what Congress and the executive branch have failed to do, which is allow the states to pick up the slack where Washington has failed."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.