While the debate over the Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants has rarely left the public eye since the bill was signed months ago, July 22 marks a particular milestone: the first day of what will surely be a contentious court battle. Lawyers for the Department of Justice and the state of Arizona will lob their opening salvos in front of Judge Susan Bolton, whose ideology is deemed "hard to pigeonhole." Here's a first glance at how pundits think this will shake out:

  • The Justice Department Has a Strong Case, stated Jonathan Benner to The Washington Post. Benner, a partner at Reed Smith who has "argued numerous preemption cases", then qualified his statement: "You're really playing an away game if you're the government trying to advance the federal position." The popularity of the law among Arizona's residents, he points out, could play a role in the decision.

  • The Feds Will Come to the Rescue, predicts Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times. While up until now the "nativists" have had their way (with SB 1070), "The cavalry is on the way, and the cavalry is not on the side of the nativists." He explains: "The government's complaint insists that SB 1070 will 'conflict with longstanding federal law governing the registration, smuggling, and employment of aliens.'" The Feds will prevail, Lemons writes, only if Judge Bolton rules swiftly--otherwise Arizona's supporters will gain momentum.

  • This Is a Risky Move, writes Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, who observes that a clear majority of voters support the Arizona immigration law. While its still uncertain if the President himself will speak out on the issue, "for now, suffice it to say that even though this will make some Democratic consultants very queasy, the White House appears willing to own this highly controversial effort."

  • Arizona Should Not Become a Police State, declares Alessandra Soler Meetze at The Huffington Post. She explains: "The challenges brought by the ACLU and the Department of Justice are based on strong legal principal. Anti-immigrant housing ordinances in communities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Missouri and Texas have all been struck down under similar claims."

  • It Comes Down to a Single Moment  Namely, "that 10 or 20 minute encounter between an officer and a suspect," writes William La Jeunesse at Fox News. "Across Arizona, through training videos and role playing, police are preparing to enforce the state's new immigration law." If a preliminary injunction isn't procured by the Justice Department, the law will go into effect on July 29.