In his ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake wrote that the lawsuit was premature because there was no evidence that anybody had been harmed, and that the plaintiffs—a coalition of business and immigrant rights groups—were suing the wrong people.
The ruling said the law gives only investigatory authority to the governor and state attorney general, who were named as defendants. Wake said county prosecutors, who weren't defendants, actually have the power to enforce the law.
The plaintiffs had asked for a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect. Farrell Quinlan, a spokesman for business groups in the suit, said they planned to file more information with the judge to answer what he sees as shortcomings in the complaint.
Alfredo Gutierrez, a spokesman for immigrant rights groups, said they plan to refile the lawsuit after Jan. 1, when they might be able to show damages caused by the law.
The law will go into effect on January 1. It would require employers to verify the legal status of their new hires.