A federal judge temporarily halted Alabama’s extreme immigration law from going into effect on Thursday. Opponents of the law, including the Justice Department, church leaders, and the ACLU, had challenged the law, but Alabama officials said it would help the state and did not violate civil rights. U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn’s two-page order only barred the enforcement of the law, but Blackburn said she will rule on the law’s merits by Sept. 28. Her order will either stay in place until Sept. 29 or until she rules on the merits. Among other provisions, the law — the harshest in the country — requires employers to use the controversial E-Verify system, makes it illegal to transport or house an undocumented immigrant, and asked schools to collect citizenship information on their students.