Plaintiffs against Fremont’s illegal immigrant ordinance have received an extension to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

Attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund requested on Dec. 30 an extension to file a petition for a “writ of certiorari,” a document asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court

Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito has granted the request, giving plaintiffs until Feb. 26 to petition the high court.

A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard the case in December 2012, and on June 28, 2013, reversed a U.S. District Court ruling that certain rental provisions of Ordinance 5165 were preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act and violated the Fair Housing Act, and ordered the District Court to dismiss the case.

Plaintiffs asked to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning the entire Appeals Court bench would hear it, but that request was denied.

The appeals court issued its mandate on Oct. 24, and plaintiffs were given 90 days to petition the Supreme Court.

The extension means that a potential petition to the Supreme Court could happen after a Feb. 11 special election in which Fremont voters will decide whether to repeal the housing provisions of the ordinance.

The Supreme Court typically receives approximately 10,000 petitions every year, but takes only about 75 to 80 of them.

Two other communities with ordinances similar to Fremont’s -- Hazleton, Pa., and Farmers Branch, Texas -- already are asking the Supreme Court to take up their ordinances.

Attorney Kris Kobach, who wrote Fremont’s ordinance and has been defending it in court, is also representing those communities.

At Hazleton and Farmers Branch, federal district courts in those regions declared the ordinances unconstitutional, contrasting with the Eighth Circuit’s ruling on Fremont’s ordinance.

The city already has implemented portions of the ordinance requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verify system, but held off on implementing housing related portions pending the court’s action.

The housing portions essentially require renters to acquire an occupancy license from the Fremont Police Department and pay a $5 fee.

City staff in November began the process of implementing the housing provisions, making occupancy licenses available at the police station with plans to begin enforcement on Nov. 18, but the city council on Nov. 12 called for the Feb. 11 special election, and further suspended implementation until 30 days after the election results are certified.