The state of Arizona asked a federal appeals court on July 29 to overturn a preliminary injunction by a U.S. district judge that prevents portions of the state’s controversial immigration law from going into effect.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said, “I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona,.” The state filed an expedited appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put a temporary hold on portions of the law on July 28, one day before it was to go into effect.

The law, signed April 23, allows police to detain individuals under “reasonable suspicion” of being an illegal alien. The temporary injunction by Judge Bolton hands the federal government a victory in its bid to overturn the law, which it says is unconstitutional.

The Dept. of Justice’s principal argument is that the power to regulate immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, and that Arizona’s law is therefore preempted by federal law.

The temporary injunction delays several controversial provisions of the law, including a measure banning illegal immigrants from seeking employment in public places and a provision permitting warrantless arrests of suspected illegal aliens.

Construction groups such as the American Subcontractors Association of Arizona and the Associated General Contractors of America say they prefer a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, rather than a patchwork of state laws.

Efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration law failed in the U.S. Congress in 2007. President Obama this summer called on Congress to revisit the issue.