U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ordered South Carolina to pay $98,000 in attorneys’ fees to a group that sued the state over an immigration law. The group which includes the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”), challenged the law, based on existing legislation in Arizona, and alleged that many of its provisions were unconstitutional. “The order came after a filing in which attorneys for the state and the groups agreed upon that number, although state prosecutors asserted their position that the groups weren’t entitled to any such fees.”
This lawsuit was put on hold when the U.S. Supreme Court heard a challenge to the aforementioned Arizona law. The Court rejected many aspects of the law but allowed for a provision regarding the legal status of employees that also appears in the South Carolina law.
In 2012 the employee legal state provision went into effect in South Carolina, requiring businesses to check the legal status of new employees through a federal system.
Judge Gergel followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and held that the South Carolina employee legal state check could go into effect while disregarding a majority of the law’s provisions. An appeals court held that some aspects of the law misappropriated federal powers regarding illegal immigrants who are suspected in criminal investigations. The group has dropped its remaining constitutional challenges to the law.