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If the liberal justices vote as a block and Justice Kennedy sides with the liberal justices, the court splits 4-4, and the law will be upheld. A tie at the Supreme Court means the ruling from the next-highest court stands.

A decision in the case is much anticipated as state legislatures nationwide have passed hundreds of immigration laws during the past five years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The issue of states passing immigration laws became even more pronounced this year with the passage of an even more controversial Arizona law giving state law enforcement officers broad authority in enforcing immigration law. The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Arizona, saying the new law violates the Supremacy Clause.