Chalk one up for the good guys.

Washington (CNN) — The Supreme Court has backed an Arizona law that punishes businesses hiring illegal immigrants, a law that opponents, including the Obama administration, say steps on traditional federal oversight over immigration matters.

The 5-3 ruling Thursday is a victory for supporters of immigration reform on the state level.

It was the first high court challenge to a variety of recent state laws cracking down on illegal immigrants, an issue that has become a political lightning rod.

The outcome could serve as a judicial warm-up for a separate high-profile challenge to a more controversial Arizona immigration reform law working its way through lower courts. That statute would, among other things, give local police a greater role in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.

The hiring case turned on whether state law tramples on federal authority.

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