Supreme Court to hear Arizona immigration arguments April 25

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 3, 2012 4:12pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday it will hear arguments on April 25 on the power of states to adopt tough immigration laws, concluding the term's scheduled oral arguments with a major case pitting Arizona against the Obama administration.

The high court released on Friday its April calendar, listing immigration and other cases scheduled to be heard in its final argument sitting for the current term, which began in October and ends in late June.

At issue is whether federal immigration laws take precedence and pre-empt Arizona's controversial law that gives local police broad new powers to crack down on illegal immigrants.

The Supreme Court in December agreed to hear Arizona's appeal arguing the law should be allowed to take effect. It was expected that oral arguments would be held in late April, but the exact date was not known until Friday.

Election-year rulings in the immigration case and on President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare overhaul are both expected by late June, in the middle of the president's campaign for re-election.

A decision upholding Arizona's law would be a legal and political setback for Obama, who has strongly criticized it. A decision striking down the law would be a defeat for Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who had a testy airport exchange with Obama last month.

The immigration arguments are expected to be the usual one hour.

The Supreme Court case is Arizona v. United States, No. 11-182.

(Reporting By James Vicini; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

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