* Court to hear Arizona's appeal on immigration law

* Request for expedited hearing denied

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Reuters) - A U.S. court denied a
request for an expedited hearing Friday and instead set a
November date for Arizona's appeal to a federal court ruling
that blocked key parts of a state law cracking down on illegal
immigration.

Lawyers for Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer had asked the
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Thursday
to lift an injunction blocking the most intrusive parts of the
law, known as SB 1070, asking for the appeal to be handled
quickly.

But the court denied the state's request to expedite the
appeal and set a hearing for the week of November 1.

Tensions over the law have inflamed a decades-long national
debate over immigration, which promises to play into the
elections in November, when President Barack Obama's Democrats
are fighting to retain control of Congress.

U.S. District Court judge Susan Bolton on Wednesday blocked
the law's most controversial elements, arguing that immigration
matters are the federal government's responsibility.

The appeals court on Friday set an August 26 date for
Arizona's opening brief, with the government's response on
September 23. The court said it would not grant any extensions
of time to file briefs "absent extraordinary and compelling
circumstances."

A spokesman for Governor Brewer did not immediately respond
to a request for comment. The case was widely expected to go
all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state's Republican-controlled legislature passed the
law three months ago to try to drive nearly half a million
illegal immigrants out of Arizona and stem the flow of human
and drug smugglers over the border from Mexico.

It drew wide popular support in Arizona and across the
United States but was opposed by Obama and human rights
groups.

Several hundred Hispanic and labor activists blocked
streets and access to a jail in Phoenix on Thursday, after a
weakened version of the law came into effect, and police
arrested 71 people.

Protests against the law continued on Friday, when several
activists were arrested in Maricopa County, according to local
news reports. A rally by backers of the measure is set for
Saturday outside the state capitol in central Phoenix.

Among blocked provisions of the law was one requiring a
police officer to check the immigration status of anyone
stopped or detained if the officer believed they were not in
the country legally.

Immigrants would also have been required to carry their
documents at all times and undocumented workers would have been
forbidden to solicit work in public.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Philip Barbara)

(tim.gaynor@thomsonreuters.com; +1 480 588 5296))